Journal of Hazardous Materials ( IF 9.038 ) Pub Date : 2020-09-15 , DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123973 Zhonghua Zhao; Xionghu Gong; Lu Zhang; Miao Jin; Yongjiu Cai; Xiaolong Wang
We examined the riverine transport of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) based on their spatial-temporal distributions in water and sediments from the mainstream along the middle and lower Yangtze River. According to the fugacity fraction (ff) estimation, sediments performed as a secondary emission source of two-, three-, and four-ringed PAHs and as a sink for five- and six-ringed congeners, leading to higher ecological and human health risks especially towards the lower reaches. The higher PAH levels observed in the more developed delta and megacities were highly linked to economic parameters. This was further supported by the source apportionment performed using the principal component analysis-multiple linear regression (PCA-MLR) model, which showed major contributions of coal and coke combustions along with vehicle emissions. The spatial-temporal distribution revealed that water runoff was the major contribution to PAHs transport along the middle-lower Yangtze River, whereas a sharp decrease in sediment discharge due to the dam impoundment along the upper reaches would lead to an increase in the catchment retention effect of PAHs. Hence, the biogeochemical processes of PAHs and their impacts on the fragile ecosystems as a consequence of the further modification of the sedimentary system in rivers need to be fully explored.