Urban Sludges Utilization in Agriculture: Possible Limitations Due to Their Contamination with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Livia ALHAFEZ, Nicoleta MUNTEAN, Edward MUNTEAN, Marcel DUDA, Dumitru RISTOIU


The objective of the present study was to assess the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons’ (PAH) contamination of urban sewage sludge - a potential agricultural fertilizer, as a result of the increasing environmental concern regarding the fate of biodegradable solid wastes generated by wastewater treatment processes. PAHs were determined by an Agilent 1100 high performance liquid chromatograph with fluorescence and diode-array detection, separations being accomplished using an Envirosep PP column with a mixture of acetonitrile: water as mobile phase. This study revealed a low contamination of sewage sludge originating from Cluj Napoca wastewater treatment plant with PAHs (15.61 μg/kg dry weight for overall PAHs concentration) during a four-month monitoring period, with individual concentrations ranging from 0.06 to 11.50 μg/kg dry weight, the highest recorded values being for naphthalene (11.50 μg/kg dry weight), phenantrene (1.39 μg/kg dry weight) and benzo (g, h, i) perylene (0.63 μg/kg dry weight). As the recorded values during the study period were low, we can conclude that the environmental risks related with PAHs contamination is quite low; due to their hydrophobic character, groundwater pollution by levigation can be also excluded. However, seasonal variations of PAHs contamination are possible and for this reason this study will be extended for a full-year period.



soil, sludge, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAH, pollution.

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