Spatial and Source Apportionment Analysis of PAH and Metal Contaminants in the Illinois River’s Peoria Pool Sediments

Yonghong Zou, Wei Zheng

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


In this study, sediments from the Peoria Pool of the Illinois River were analyzed for the presence and concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals. The PAH source apportionment analysis utilized 225 PAH profiles from 10 PAH sources collected through a literature search. The analysis suggested that anthropogenic sources contributed the PAHs while the majority of metals originated from the Earth's crust. Higher PAH concentrations were generally found in sediment cores taken close to the main river channel or the mouths of backwater lakes where they join the river, suggesting an association with main river flows. Concentrations of PAHs in the backwater areas varied considerably. The source apportionment analysis suggested that coal dust; coal and wood combustion soot; asphalt and coal-tar sealcoat; and traffic emissions are the main sources of PAHs in Illinois River sediments. The analysis also indicated coal dust or an aggregated PAH input from several sources contributed approximately 47 ± 7% of total PAHs in the Peoria Pool sediments; coal combustion (soot) contributed 28 ± 4%; traffic emissions (soot) contributed 15 ± 3%; and wood combustion contributed 5%. The combined gas phase of coal and wood combustion and traffic exhaust accounted for another 5% of the total PAHs. The analysis indicated that the majority of metals (60%) in the Illinois River sediments were derived from crustal material weathering. Beyond that, industrial emissions contributed slightly more than 20% of the total metals, and traffic emissions accounted for the remaining 20%.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherIllinois Sustainable Technology Center
StatePublished - Dec 2015

Publication series

NameRR Series (Illinois Sustainable Technology Center)


  • Water pollution -- Illinois
  • Illinois River
  • Metals -- Water pollution -- Illinois
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons -- Water pollution -- Illinois


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