Assessment of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in an Urban Soil Dataset

Rory Doherty, R. McIlwaine, Laura McAnallen, S. Cox

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    We compare a suite of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (Parent PAHs) in soils and air across an urban area (Belfast UK). Isomeric PAH ratios suggest that soil PAHs are mainly from a combustion source. Fugacity modelling across a range of soil temperatures predicts that four ring and larger PAHs from pyrene to indeno[1,2,3–cd]pyrene all partition strongly (>98%) to the soil compartment. This modelling also implies that these PAHs do not experience losses through partitioning to other phases (air, water) due to soil temperature effects. Such modelling may help in understanding the overall contaminantdistribution in soils. The air and soil data together with modelling suggests that care must be taken when considering isomeric ratios of compounds with mass lighter than 178 (i.e. phenanthrene and anthracene) in the soil phase. Comparison of duplicate and replicate samples suggest that field sampling of duplicates dominates uncertainty and validated methodologies for selection of field duplicates and lab splitting are required. As the urban soil four ring PAHs are at equilibrium in the soil phase, and have characteristic ratios that are dominated by a combustion source that is a single controlling factor over spatial distribution, methods that calculate background concentrations can be compared.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEnvironmental Forensics: Proceedings of the 2014 INEF conference
    EditorsGwen O'Sullivan, David Megson
    PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78262-507-0
    ISBN (Print)978-1-78262-444-8
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2015
    EventINEF Cambridge 2014 - Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Duration: 04 Aug 201406 Aug 2014


    ConferenceINEF Cambridge 2014
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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