EGU23-3691, updated on 22 Feb 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Occurence of selected hydroxy derivatives of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in wastewater treatment plant

Katarzyna Styszko1, Justyna Pamuła2, Elżbieta Sochacka-Tatara3, and Agnieszka Pac3
Katarzyna Styszko et al.
  • 1AGH University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Energy and Fuels, Kraków, Poland (
  • 2Cracow University of Technology, Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Energy, Kraków, Poland (
  • 3Jagiellonian University Medical College, Chair of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Kraków, Poland (,

Evidence of the causal-empirical link between man-made chemicals present in industrial and household products, often leakage into the environment, and the effects on public health is growing, although still limited. These include, among other things, air pollutants in the environment associated with the highest prevalence of asthma, as well as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in urban populations. There is strong evidence of health risks posed by human exposure to organic air pollutants such as PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) from combustion processes (solid fuels, coal and biomass) and communication. Generally, PAHs are formed during incomplete combustion and pyrolysis of organic material in a wide range of temperatures, up to over 1200 ° C. After entering the body, PAHs are transported to the alveoli and then spread throughout the body with the blood. The biological effects that PAHs cause in the human body are short-term, chronic, or long-term health effects, i.e. carcinogenicity, immunotoxicity, or developmental toxicity, genotoxicity. After entering the human body, PAHs undergo a complicated metabolism process and are excreted in the form of OH-PAHs with urine and faeces.

The purpose of the study was to analyse selected OH-PAHs in influent and effluent wastewater from the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Analysed PAH metabolites are: 1- and 2-hydroxynaphthalene, 2- and 9-hydroxyfluorene, 9-hydroxyphenenthrene, 1-hydroxypyrene, and 3-hydroxybenzo(a)pyrene. The wastewater samples came from the largest WWTP in Kraków. OH-PAH concentration levels were determined by gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS), preceded by the extraction of analytes into the solid phase and their derivatization.

The concentrations of the analyzed compounds were at the level of ng/L. Regardless of the season of sampling for analysis (summer and winter), the highest concentrations, even up to 400 ng/L, were found in 2-hydroxynaphthalene and 9-hydroxyfluorene in influents. 1-hydroxypyrene, which according to literature reports is considered a marker of exposure to PAHs, was observed for influent and effluent samples only in winter at the level of only a few ng/L.


Keywords: Hydroxy derivatives of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Biomarker, Wastewater

Acknowledgments: A Research project financed by program “Initiative for Excellence – Research University” for the AGH University of Science and Technology. The research was supported  by Research Subsidy AGH

How to cite: Styszko, K., Pamuła, J., Sochacka-Tatara, E., and Pac, A.: Occurence of selected hydroxy derivatives of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in wastewater treatment plant, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-3691,, 2023.