Inside-sediment partitioning of PAH, PCB and organochlorine compounds and inferences on sampling and normalization methods

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Comparability of sediment analyses for semivolatile organic substances is still low. Neither screening of the sediments nor organic-carbon based normalization is sufficient to obtain comparable results. We are showing the interdependency of grain-size effects with inside-sediment organic-matter distribution for PAH, PCB and organochlorine compounds. Surface sediment samples collected by Van-Veen grab were sieved and analyzed for 16 PAH, 6 PCB and 18 organochlorine pesticides (OCP) as well as organic-matter content. Since bulk concentrations are influenced by grain-size effects themselves, we used a novel normalization method based on the sum of concentrations in the separate grain-size fractions of the sediments. By calculating relative normalized concentrations, it was possible to clearly show underlying mechanisms throughout a heterogeneous set of samples. Furthermore, we were able to show that, for comparability, screening at <125 μm is best suited and can be further improved by additional organic-carbon normalization.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)924-931
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 04.2011

    Research areas

  • Chemistry - Grain-size partitioning, Normalization, Organic carbon, Organic pollutants, Sediment