Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil of the Canadian River floodplain in Oklahoma

January 1, 2010

The accumulation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in soil, plants, and water may impart negative effects on ecosystem and human health. We quantified the concentration and distribution of 41 PAH (n = 32), organic C, total N, and S (n = 140) and investigated PAH sources using a chronosequence of floodplain soils under a natural vegetation succession. Soil samples were collected between 0- and 260-cm depth in bare land (the control), wetland, forest, and grassland areas near a closed municipal landfill and an active asphalt plant (the contaminant sources) in the north bank of the Canadian River near Norman, OK. Principal component, cluster, and correlation analyses were used to investigate the spatial distribution of PAH, in combination with diagnostic ratios to distinguish pyrogenic vs. petrogenic PAH suites. Total PAH concentration (SigmaPAH) had a mean of 1300 ng g(-1), minimum of 16 ng g(-1), and maximum of 12,000 ng g(-1). At 0- to 20-cm depth, SigmaPAH was 3500 +/- 1600 ng g(-1) (mean +/- 1 SE) near the contaminant sources. The most common compounds were nonalkylated, high molecular weight PAH of pyrogenic origin, i.e., fluoranthene (17%), pyrene (14%), phenanthrene (9%), benzo(b)fluoranthene (7%), chrysene (6%), and benzo(a)anthracene (5%). SigmaPAH in the control (130 +/- 23 ng g(-1)) was comparable to reported concentrations for the rural Great Plains. Perylene had a unique distribution pattern suggesting biological inputs. The main PAH contamination mechanisms were likely atmospheric deposition due to asphalt production at the 0- to 20-cm depth and past landfill operations at deeper depths.

Publication Year 2010
Title Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil of the Canadian River floodplain in Oklahoma
DOI 10.2134/jeq2009.0270
Authors F. Sartori, T.L. Wade, J.L. Sericano, B.P. Mohanty, Karen A. Smith
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Environmental Quality
Index ID 70034607
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program