PAHs and organophosphorus substances in burnt landfill material as a potential source of water and soil pollution

Wojciech Rykała, Monika Fabiańska, Dominika Dąbrowska, Vahid Nourani


Illegal landfills pose a potential threat to the aquatic environment due, in part, to the unprotected subsoil beneath them. We describe the toxicity of soil samples and incinerated solid waste from two illegal landfills in Poland, and discuss the potential negative impact on groundwater. Fifty samples were taken, including 32 from an illegal landfill in Trzebinia (southern Poland), and analysed by GC-MS. The PAHs detected included naphthalene, fluorene, phenanthrene, anthracene, acenaphthene, acenaphthylene, fluoranthene, pyrene, benzo(c)phenanthrene, benzo(a)anthracene, chrysene, benzo(b+k)fluoranthene, benzo(a)fluoranthene, benzo(c)fluoranthene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(e)pyrene, perylene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, benzo(ghi)perylene and dibenzo(a+h)anthracene. The organophosphates detected were tris-(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate, trisphenyl phosphate, tri-cresyl phosphate, tri(butoxyethyl)phosphate and tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate. PAHs at <50 ppm/g predominate in the samples, though samples with total PAHs ranging to >100 ppm/g were also identified in both study areas. Among the organic phosphate concentrations in the leachates, tris-(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate was most frequently observed, with concentrations reaching ~0.7 µg/l. These compounds within burnt waste and soil can negatively impact the safety of groundwater. Constant monitoring and research is needed to assess the negative effects of waste fires on unsealed ground beneath, and to help prevent further instances


landfill; fire; contamination; PAHs; organic phosphates; leachate

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