Moeckel, C.; Monteith, D.T.; Llewellyn, N.R.; Henrys, P.A.; Pereira, M.G.

Dissolved polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the River Wyre (northwest England)

Data on concentrations of dissolved PAHs and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in 20 water samples collected from the River Wyre at five sites between Marshaw Wyre, one of the two headwaters of the River Wyre, and Garstang from August 2010 to June 2011. As typical for this region, the upland reaches of this river drain peatland areas, resulting in a relatively high dissolved organic carbon content. PAHs were measured as freely dissolved PAHs (i.e. freely dissolved in the water phase) and total dissolved PAHs (the sum of freely dissolved and those associated with DOC) and the fractions associated with DOC have been estimated from these two. Where possible, the DOC-water partition coefficient of the PAHs, calculated from the concentrations determined, is given as well. The data is presented as one table and two supporting files containing metadata.

Publication date: 2013-11-01

Get the data

This dataset is made available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

Format of the dataset : Comma-separated values (CSV)

You must cite: Moeckel, C.; Monteith, D.T.; Llewellyn, N.R.; Henrys, P.A.; Pereira, M.G. (2013). Dissolved polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the River Wyre (northwest England). NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.


© Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (Natural Environment Research Council)


Study area
Temporal extent
2010-08-19    to    2011-06-06

Supplemental information

This dataset is referenced in:

Moeckel, C., Monteith, D. T., Llewellyn, N. R., Henrys, P. A., & Pereira, M. G. (2013). Relationship between the Concentrations of Dissolved Organic Matter and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in a Typical U.K. Upland Stream. Environmental Science & Technology, 48(1), 130-138.

Provenance & quality

Water samples were taken at five sites along the River Wyre, a typical river system in the northwest of England, draining upland and agricultural areas with soils rich in organic matter. Clean amber glass bottles with Teflon-line lids were used to collect 5 L water samples for the PAH analysis from each site during each of the four sampling events (19th August 2010, 6th December 2010, 6th March 2011 and 6th June 2011). Additionally, 100 mL samples were collected for DOC analysis. Samples were kept at 5°C and processed within 48 hours of collection. Samples were filtered through a 0.45µm filter and DOC concentrations were determined on the basis of UV absorbance at 270 and 350nm using an algorithm developed by Tipping et al. 2009. Prior to processing, samples were divided into two equal sub-samples, for the analysis of total dissolved and freely dissolved PAHs respectively. To isolate freely dissolved PAHs in this second sub-sample, the DOC and DOC-associated PAHs were precipitated by adding 0.4g of Al2(SO4)3 (dissolved in 5mL of Milli-Q water) and adjusting the pH to 6, the optimal flocculation pH for Al2(SO4)317, using NaOH or HCl. The flocculated DOC was then removed by passing the sample through a GF-F using a Millipore vacuum filtration unit. Al2(SO4)3 was found to remove DOC efficiently, particularly those substances PAHs tend to partition to strongest, and does not precipitate PAHs (Laor and Rebhun, 1997). Total dissolved (the sum of freely dissolved and DOC-associated) PAHs were measured in a raw sample filtered through a GFF filter. The concentrations of PAHs associated with DOC were determined indirectly by subtracting the concentration of freely dissolved PAHs from the sum of freely dissolved and DOC-associated PAHs. Laboratory blanks were generated by treating Milli-Q water in exactly the same way as the samples. After filtration, half of each sample, was transferred to a 1.5 L separating funnel, spiked with a mixture of deuterated PAHs to monitor recovery of the extraction and cleanup method, and liquid-liquid extracted with 80 mL of dichloromethane (DCM) three times . This procedure was repeated with the remainder of each sample. The extracts of both portions were pooled and anhydrous sodium sulphate (baked at 550°C) was added to remove any remaining water. These were then reduced to 1 mL on a Buchi Syncore evaporation system and cleaned on a column packed with 0.8 g of alumina (activated at 550 °C) and a small amount of anhydrous sodium sulphate. The target compounds were eluted with 10 mL of DCM. After the samples and blanks were blown down under a gentle stream of nitrogen they were transferred to small amber vials, further reduced to ca. 0.5 mL, spiked with a solution containing d10-acenaphthene and d12-benz(a)anthracene as internal standards, and analysed for all 28 target PAHs and the recovery compounds. The GC-MS analysis was carried out on an Agilent GC 6890N coupled to an Agilent MSD 5973N. 20µL of the extracts were injected in solvent vent mode and separated on a HT8 column (SEG, 50m, 0.22mm I.D., 0.25µm film thickness) with helium as the mobile phase at a constant flow of 2 mL min-1. The programmable temperature vaporization (PTV) inlet was kept at 20°C for 0.51 min, then heated to 350°C at a rate of 700°C min-1 and kept at 350°C for 5 min. Then the temperature was reduced to 300°C min-1 at a rate of 10°C min-1. The oven temperature programme was: isothermal at 50°C for 2.5 min, 15°C min-1 to 200°C, 5°C min-1 to 250°C, 8°C min-1 to 330°C and was held at 330°C for 25.5 min. The transfer line was heated to 350°C. The MS detector was operated in EI-mode, using selected ion monitoring, the quadrupole temperature was set to 150°C and the ion source temperature to 230°C.

Correspondence/contact details

Don Monteith
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Lancaster Environment Centre, Library Avenue, Bailrigg
United Kingdom


Moeckel, C.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Monteith, D.T.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Llewellyn, N.R.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Henrys, P.A.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Pereira, M.G.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Other contacts

Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre


Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
WGS 84


Topic categories
chemistry,  dissolved organic carbon,  DOC,  England PAH,  Pollution polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon,  River Wyre,  upland river,  water
Environmental Monitoring Facilities