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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Seasonal trends of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in river water affected by fire training sites and wastewater treatment plants

Nguyen, Minh A.; Norstrom, Karin; Wiberg, Karin; Gustavsson, Jakob; Josefsson, Sarah; Ahrens, Lutz


Fire-fighting training areas and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are potential sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) to the nearby aquatic environment. This study investigated seasonal variations of PFAS levels in two river catchments in Sweden; one impacted by Stockholm Arlanda Airport (Sites 1 and 2), and the other by WWTPs and a military airport (Uppsala) (Sites 3 and 4). Sigma PFAS concentrations were up to 61 (Sites 1 and 2) and 4 (Sites 3 and 4) times higher compared to the reference site. Distinct different seasonal trends were observed in the two catchments with higher Sigma PFAS concentrations during the high water flow season at Site 1 compared to the low water flow season, whereas Sites 3 and 4 showed an inverse seasonal trend. This demonstrates that the pollution is mobilized during periods of high flow in the first catchment (Stockholm Arlanda Airport), while it is diluted during high flow in the second catchment (Uppsala). Average annual loads for Sigma PFASs were estimated at similar to 5.2 and similar to 3.7 kg yr(-1) for the catchment in Uppsala and Stockholm Arlanda Airport, respectively. Thus, both catchments add PFASs to Lake Malaren, which is Sweden's most important source area for drinking water production.


PFAS; Seasonal trend; Mass loads; Wastewater treatment plants; Fire-fighting training areas; Transport process

Published in

2022, Volume: 308, article number: 136467