Characteristics of organic matter and contents of some ubiquitous hydrophobic organic pollutants in selected soils and sediments


Authors: Boháček Z, Bezděk J, Kovářová M, Hanák J, Toul J, Müller P

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 78, issue 3; pages: 179 - 204; Accepted in revised form 5 May 2003;

Keywords: soil, sediment, chemical analyses, organic matter, hydrophobic organic pollutants, alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorinated pesticides, data quality, correlations, environmental interpretations,

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Compositions of organic matter in soil and sediment samples were analysed using standard geochemical analytical methods. The tested set contained 44 lake sediment samples from three depth profiles on the bottom of the Horní Bečva Reservoir and 14 samples of uncultivated soil from shallow profiles at the localities of interest: Potočník, Lelekovice and Červenohorské sedlo Saddle. Organic matter was characterised by determinations of individual carbon fractions/forms (Ctot, Corg, Cmin, CHS, CHA, CFA), by customary analyses of group parameters (Hum, EOM, TES, NES, AOX-S) and also by multicomponent analyses of the contents and distributions of individual selected hydrophobic organic pollutants - normal and isoprenoid alkanes (SHn+i), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and organochlorinated pesticides (OCP).
Reliability of data, characterising organic compositions of the tested samples, was guaranteed by certified analytical methods and consequently verified by statistical evaluations of correlations between the values of definitionally related quantities. Characteristics of the organic matter were then used in a parallel investigation of sorption properties of some of the samples. Results of pollutant analyses were also evaluated and discussed with respect to the Czech national legislation limits for permissible pollution of the environment; they proved, in general, a significant and widespread background distribution of some of these xenobiotics in the examined rock environments. Characteristic distributions of individual alkanes determined by multicomponent analyses also helped to distinguish external hydrocarbon contaminations from the natural background as well as to estimate a probable source of contamination.