Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) constitute a large group of organic compounds that make constant threat to the environment. Their contents from natural sources are low. The processes of incomplete organic fuel combustion are the main sources of PAHs. In Upper Silesia (Poland), large amounts of PAHs are emitted into the air as a result of coal combustion in home furnaces and liquid fuel burning in combustion engines (low emission). PAHs get into surface water because of the surface runoff and point source wastewater discharges from certain industries. The following study presents PAHs concentrations in raw municipal wastewater. The tests were performed out of the heating season. The samples were collected from the combined sewer system. The analyses of PAHs were carried out with gas chromatography coupled with a mass detector (GC-MS). The concentrations of 16 PAHs sum (EPA list) ranged between 1.025 and 3.056 μg/L. Phenanthrene dominated in nearly all the analysed samples. The contents of PAHs, which are priority hazardous substances according to the directive, were high in the analysed samples. The obtained results and the analysis of diagnostic ratios for the emissions of PAHs into the air helped to reach the conclusion that traffic emissions were the main source of PAHs in the examined wastewater.
The content of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in water and sediments of the Blachownia reservoir (South Poland) was investigated. Spatial variability of PAH concentrations in the longitudinal profi le of the tank was determined. PAHs in samples were determined by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometric detection (GC-MS QP-2010 Plus Shimadzu) using an internal standard. Concentrations ranged from 0.103 μg/L to 2.667 μg/L (Σ16 PAHs) in water samples and from 2.329 mg/kg d.w. to 9.078 mg/kg d.w. (Σ16 PAHs) in sediment samples. A pollution balance was calculated and it was estimated that the infl ow load was 17.70 kg PAHs during the year and the outfl ow load was 9.30 kg PAHs per year. Accumulation of about 50% of the annual PAH loads (8.90 kg) is a threat to the ecological condition of the ecosystem. It was calculated that the PAH loads in bottom sediment were about 80 kg, which limits their economic use. Improvement of the ecological status of this type of reservoir can be achieved by removing the sediment. Analysis of the diagnostic ratios obtained for selected PAHs showed that the potential sources of PAH emissions in small agricultural – forest catchments can be combustion of a coal, wood, plant material (low emission, forest fi res, burning grass, etc.). Transportation is also signifi cant.