Investigation of Presence and Levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons around An Asphalt Plant in Imo State, Nigeria

Authors : Nwanya Emmanuel, Ifudu Chidera Justus, Ojukwu Ihuoma Nneka

Volume/Issue : Volume 5 - 2020, Issue 3 - March

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This study was carried out to investigate the presence and concentrations of PAHs around an asphalt plant in Owerri, South East Nigeria. Soil samples were collected from three different locations around the asphalt plant, while a control sample was collected some kilometres away from the asphalt plant. The samples were collected using a hand auger; after which they were put into a sterile polythene bag and transported to the laboratory for analysis. At the laboratory, the samples were oven dried and sieved to remove large particles. Edaphic variables were determined using approved Standard Operations Procedures (SOP), while PAHs were determined using gas chromatography interphased with Flame Ionization Detector (GC-FID. Narrow variations were noticed for benzo (a) anthracene (0.29 – 0.32 mg/kg) with a mean and standard error of 0.40 and 0.13 respectively. Maximum concentrations of 0.82mg/kg and 0.72mg/kg were recorded for benzo(a)anthracene and chrysene respectively at sampling location B (SLB). Nitrate, phosphate and sulphate had minimum concentrations of 28.90, 8.65 and 58.20mg/kg, respectively, with maximum concentrations of 31.00, 10.80 and 66.50mg/kg, respectively. At p<0.05, chrysene had a positive correlation with pH (r=0.970) and sand composition (r=0.977). Also, benzo(k)flouranthene, diabenzo(a,h)anthracene and benzo(g,h,i)perylene each correlated positively with loam component (r=0.974, r= 0.973and r=0.970), respectively. PAHs [benzo(a)anthracene, chrysene, benzo(b)flouranthene, benzo(k)flouranthene, benzo(a)pyrene, indeno-1,2,3-cd pyrene, dibenzo(a,h)anthracene and benzo(g,h,i)perylene] were identified in the soil samples, at a relatively high concentrations. The high concentration of PAHs present in the soil samples can be attributed to high organic carbon content of the soil, as well as low pH value, high sand composition and high moisture contents.

Keywords : Asphalt; Asphalt Plant; Concentration; Gas Chromatography; Edaphic variables; Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)


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