In order to characterize the pollution discharged into the Moselle River and some of its tributaries, spectroscopic techniques, namely UV–vis spectroscopy and synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy, have been combined. UV–visible spectra were analysed using the maximum of the second derivative at 225 nm (related to nitrates), the SUVA254 and E2/E3 indices (related to the nature of organic matter). Synchronous fluorescence spectra (Δλ = 50 nm) presented different shapes depending upon the type of pollution. The pollution results from anthropogenic activities: untreated domestic sewage due to misconnections in a periurban river, effluent from urban WWTPs, agricultural runoff (nitrates) in several streams, discharge from a paper mill (humic-like substances due to wood processing) and from steel mills (PAHs).

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