Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in suspended particulate matter (SPM) from rivers Rhine and Saar

Significant higher contamination in industrialised areas with high population densities

PAH are emitted during combustion of fossil fuels. Moreover, they are a product of incomplete combustion of other organic materials. Therefore environmental PAH levels are especially high in densely populated areas and industrial regions.

Of all ESB sampling sites, PAH levels (sum of 12 compounds) are highest in SPM from the Saarland conurbation. In the river Rhine, PAH concentrations are generally lower and increase downstream. This increase is especially pronounced between the sampling sites Koblenz and Bimmen where the river flows through the densely populated area around Cologne and the Ruhr conurbation.

Stacked bar chart of 12 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in suspended particulate matter from rivers Rhine and Saar
Fig. 1: Stacked bar chart of 12 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in suspended particulate matter from rivers Rhine and Saar Zoom in

 

Recommended profiles

Specimen

Suspended particulate matter Fine insoluble mineral or organic particles in the water phase

Analytes

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Group of organic compounds with at least three condensed six-membered rings

Sampling area

Saar, Staustufe Güdingen The Saar river entering the Saarland conurbation
Saar, Staustufe Rehlingen The Saar leaving the Saarland conurbation
Rhein Longest river in Germany