Determination of PAH, PCB, and OCP in water from the Three Gorges Reservoir accumulated by semipermeable membrane devices (SPMD)

Jingxian Wang, Yonghong Bi, Gerd Pfister, Bernhard Henkelmann, Kongxian Zhu, Karl Werner Schramm

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148 Scopus citations


Bioavailable water concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and organochlorine pesticides (OCP) were measured in the water column from Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) collected in May 2008 using semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs). The sampling sites spanned the whole reservoir from the upstream Chongqing to the great dam covering more than 600 km long distance with water flow velocities ranging from <0.05 to 1.5 m s-1. This is the first experience of SPMD application in the biggest reservoir in the world. The results of water sampling rates based on performance reference compounds (PRC) were tested to be significantly correlated with water flow velocities in the big river. Results of back-calculated aqueous concentrations based on PRC showed obvious regional variations of PAH, PCB and OCP levels in the reservoir. Total PAH ranged from 13.8 to 97.2 ng L-1, with the higher concentrations occurring in the region of upstream and near the dam. Phenanthrene, fluoranthene, pyrene and chrysene were the predominant PAH compounds in TGR water. Total PCB ranged from 0.08 to 0.51 ng L-1, with the highest one occurring in the region near the dam. PCB 28, 52, 101, 138, 153, 180, 118 were the most abundant PCB congeners in the water. The total OCP ranged from 2.33 to 3.60 ng L-1 and the levels showed homogenous distribution in the whole reservoir. HCH, DDT and HCB, PeCB were the major compounds of OCP fingerprints. Based on water quality criteria, the TGR water could be designated as being polluted by HCB and PAH. Data on PAH, PCB and OCP concentrations found in this survey can be used as reference levels for future POP monitoring programmes in TGR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1127
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 2009


  • OCP
  • PAH
  • PCB
  • SPMD
  • Three Gorges Reservoir
  • Water


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