A complex investigation of the extent of pollution in sediments of the Sava River: part 2: persistent organic pollutants

Environ Monit Assess. 2010 Apr;163(1-4):277-93. doi: 10.1007/s10661-009-0833-9. Epub 2009 Mar 4.


Sediment pollution of the biggest Danube tributary, the Sava River, was investigated within the sixth framework European Union project "Sava River Basin: Sustainable Use, Management and Protection of Resources" (SARIB). The extent of pollution was estimated by determining the amount of inorganic and persistent organic pollutants in sediment samples at 20 selected sampling sites along the Sava River. For the purpose of clarity, the findings are presented and published separately (part I: selected elements and part II: persistent organic pollutants). This study presents an investigation into the presence of organic pollutants in the Sava River sediment. According to the Water Framework Directive, the following persistent organic pollutants were investigated: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), selected chlorinated pesticides and organotin compounds. The results reveal that PAHs were present in moderate concentrations (sum of 16 PAHs: up to 4,000 ng g(-1)) and their concentrations increased downstream. Concentrations of PCB were low (sum of seven indicator PCBs: below 4 ng g(-1)) and among the pesticides analyzed only p,p-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane was found in moderate concentrations at two sampling sites in Croatia (up to 3 ng g(-1)) and hexachlorobenzene was found in a high concentration in the city of Belgrade (91 ng g(-1)), although the use of these persistent pesticides has been banned for decades. Repeated sampling at the same location revealed point pollution near Belgrade. Among the organic pollutants surveyed, organotin compounds were not detected. Overall results reveal the presence of persistent organic pollutants in 20 of the Sava River sediments tested that is, in general, comparable or lower than the levels in the Danube River and other moderately polluted European rivers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fresh Water / chemistry
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Rivers
  • Water Pollutants / analysis*


  • Water Pollutants