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Assessment of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Wastewater from Selected Flow Stations in Agbada II, Rivers State

Akpan Esther Emmanuel, , Kinigoma Boma

Abstract: Aims: This study evaluates total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) and polycyclic hydrocarbons (PAHs) concentrations in wastewaters from three locations of the oil-producing flow station in Rivers State. Study Design: By experiment and the results obtained by analytical means. Place and Duration of Study: This work was conducted at the Department of Industrial Chemistry/Petrochemical Technology, School of Science and Laboratory Technology, University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Rivers State, Nigeria between February and August, 2021. Methodology: The evaluation was done using gas chromatography-Flame Ionization Detector (GC-FID), and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer Detector (GC-MSD). Results: Results obtained showed low levels of total petroleum hydrocarbons ranging from 0.051, 0.119, and 0.07 mg/l and 0.01, 0.06, and < 0.01 mg/l for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons for the three locations, respectively. The results also revealed that the concentrations of the total petroleum hydrocarbons of the samples from the three locations were highest at carbon atom 17 suggesting a biogenic contribution of organic matter. The chromatographs obtained gave evidence that the nature of the contamination was minimally crude oil, because crude oil normally distributes in broad range, as observed in the locations samples as against the narrower carbon range of C8 to C40 characteristics of refined products. The pristane/phytane ratios, which were 0.925, 0.891 and 0.372 for the three samples, depicted an oxygenated environment. The C17/pristane ratios (39.53, 38.93, and 31.48) for all three locations revealed that the wastewaters were slightly weathered. The low concentrations as well as absence of high molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and higher concentrations of low molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons support the petrogenity of the wastewaters. The phenanthrene/anthracene ratios (1.26, 0, and 0) for the three samples confirm the nature of the wastewaters. In addition, the absence of benzo(a)anthracene to chrysene ratio for all three samples point to proper treatment of the wastewaters. Conclusion: From this study, the level of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and polycyclic hydrocarbons (PAHs) obtained from all the samples were lower than the maximum recommended levels by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). This study recommends constant monitoring in the total petroleum hydrocarbons and polycyclic hydrocarbons concentrations because even at its low concentrations can be injurious to health of the people residing within the facility and beyond.
Keywords: petroleum / polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons / Department / PAHs / TPH

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