Chlorobenzenes in rivers draining industrial catchments

K.J. Meharg, G. Wright, D. Osborn, Andrew Meharg

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56 Citations (Scopus)


Eleven chlorobenzenes (out of a total of 12 in the congener series) were monitored weekly on four industrialized rivers (Aire, Calder, Don and Trent) of the Southern Humber Catchment in whole water samples. 1,2- and 1,4-dichlorobenzene were present at relatively high levels on both the Aire and Calder, having mean concentrations of approximately 30 ng/l. They were both at lower concentrations on the Don and Trent, although the 1,4-isomer dominated. All other chlorobenzenes monitored were routinely found on all the rivers, with the exception of hexachlorobenzene, which was only regularly detected on the Trent. Again, the rivers fell into two classes with respect to their total chlorobenzene concentrations, with the Aire and Calder being more polluted. The higher levels of chlorobenzenes (excluding hexachlorobenzene which was used widely as a agricultural pesticide) on the Aire and Calder, and the dominance of the 1,4-dichlorobenzene congener (accounting for 60-70% of sigma chlorobenzenes) on the Don and Trent, indicated that the Aire and Calder were predominately contaminated with chlorobenzenes through industrial sources, while the Don and Trent were mainly contaminated through domestic sources (1,4-dichlorobenzene is widely used as a toilet deodorant). 1,4-Dichlorobenzene dominated flux, with the Aire, Don and Trent exporting 52.5 kg/year into the Humber estuary, followed by the 1,2-dichlorobenzene at 38.8 kg/year. Sigma chlorobenzenes exported to the Humber was 133 kg/year. This is the first study to calculate chlorobenzene fluxes to the North Sea from a UK catchment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-53
Number of pages11
JournalThe Science of the total environment
Publication statusPublished - 05 May 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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