Preliminary assessment of Miramar Petrochemical Harbor as PAH source to Guajará bay (Belém-PA-Brazil) surface sediments

Abstract A preliminary study on a petrochemical harbor as a potential source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) to surface sediments of Guajará bay, located in Belém City, Pará State, Brazil, over the last 10 years is presented here. The 16 priority USEPA PAH were identified and quantified. Surface sediment samples, collected at 5 sites in the bay, near Miramar Petrochemical Harbor (TEMIR), were extracted and analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography with a diode array detector. Total PAH concentration ranged from 533.0 to 3123.3 ng g-1 dry weight with a mean concentration of 1091.9 ng g-1. The most contaminated places were those where muddy sediments were found with highest concentrations of organic matter. The priority PAH with low molecular weight represented 54.4% of the total abundance and indicate that the main source of contamination of the sediments was petrogenic, indicative of the relevant contribution of the petrochemical harbor activity to the input of PAH to Guajará bay. However, pyrolytic PAH coming from fuel combustion, household waste combustion and untreated sewage discharge are also potential contamination sources to this environment.