Investigating the temporal trends in PAH, PCB and OCP concentrations in Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa, using semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs)
The seasonal variability of persistent organic pollutants in Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa, was investigated using semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) as passive samplers. Freely dissolved waterborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) were sampled to investigate seasonal changes in their concentrations. Exposure of the passive samplers was done for 14 days at the same sampling site in each of the four seasons of the year, in 2011. The SPMD-derived analyte amounts enabled the calculation of time-weighted averages of free dissolved waterborne levels of the contaminants. Concentrations ranged from 30.0 ng·l-1 to 51.5 ng·l-1 for PAHs, 38 pg l-1 to 150 pg·l-1 for PCBs, 9.2 to 10.4 ng·l-1 for HCHs and 0.3 to 0.8 ng·l-1 for DDTs, respectively. It was also noted that the winter season generally exhibited higher contaminant concentrations for most compounds studied, which likely reflects the seasonality of their atmospheric deposition. An attempt was also made to identify possible sources of PAH contaminants in the dam by examining PAH ratios. These diagnostic ratios were inclined towards pyrogenic sources of pollution, except for the winter season where both pyrogenic and petrogenic sources likely contribute to the contamination pattern.
Keywords: Hartbeespoort dam, persistent organic pollutants, semipermeable membrane devices, water-dissolved concentrations, temporal trends.