Indexed on: 15 Apr '14Published on: 15 Apr '14Published in: Science of the Total Environment
Mass fluxes of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were calculated for the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) in China, based on concentration and discharge data from the Yangtze River. Virtual Organisms (VOs) have been applied during four campaigns in 2008, 2009 (twice) and 2011 at sampling sites distributed from Chongqing to Maoping. The total PAH mass fluxes ranged from 110 to 2,160 mg s(-1). Highest loads were determined at Chongqing with a decreasing trend towards Maoping in all four sampling campaigns. PAH remediation capacity of the TGR was found to be high as the mass flux reduced by more than half from upstream to downstream. Responsible processes are thought to be adsorption of PAH to suspended particles, dilution and degradation. Furthermore, the dependence of PAH concentration upon water depth was investigated at Maoping in front of the Three Gorges Dam. Although considerable differences could be revealed, there was no trend observable. Sampling of water with self-packed filter cartridges confirmed more homogenous PAH depth distribution. Moreover, PAH content of suspended particles was estimated from water concentrations gathered by VOs based on a water-particle separation model and subsequently compared to PAH concentration measured in water and in filter cartridges. It could be shown that the modeled data predicts the concentration caused by particle-bound PAHs to be about 6 times lower than PAHs dissolved in water. Besides, the model estimates the proportions of 5- and 6-ring PAHs being higher than in water phase.