Aliphatic and Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the Coastal Sediments of the Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf

Document Type : Original Research Paper


School of Environment, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf is the place for the major oil export terminals of Iran and hosts several large oil related industries. Coastal environment of the Kharg Island is rich in coral reefs. This paper presents concentrations and sources of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons in the sediments from the coastal area of the island. The concentration of hydrocarbons in 14 seabed sediment samples from water depths of 13-20 m around the island were measured by gas chromatography (GC). Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) concentrations in sediment samples ranged from less than 1 to 133 μg/g indicating low to moderate levels of oil pollution. Spatial distributions of TPH concentrations indicated no oil pollution in the southern part of the island, higher oil pollution levels near oil terminals and correlation with fine particles. Total Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (∑PAHs) concentrations in sediment samples ranged from near zero to 6210 ng/g, indicating non to highly, but mainly moderately polluted levels. SPAHs concentrations, except at one station, were all less than the NOAA sediment quality guideline value for the effects range low. Developed indices for pollutant origins showed that hydrocarbons in all sediment samples collected in the study area had petrogenic origin. The results also indicated that the emissions from gas flares in the island were the main source of aromatic compounds in the sediment samples.


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