ABSTRACT The Port Harcourt Refinery Company situated at Okrika Mainland discharges its effluent into the Creeks surrounding this coastal land. The current study examined the presence of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons in groundwater sources of the coastal settlement. Ten replicate samples were collected from 10 boreholes in the settlement using sterilized amber glass bottles and fixed with concentrated H2SO4. They were later analyzed using Gas chromatography (GC). The Pearson product moment correlation coefficient (r) was used to determine the interactions of the PAHs detected while the One-way ANOVA was used to determine spatial variance equality in means of the PAHs components at P < 0.05. Further structure detection was made with means plots, utilizing pH as a predictor variable. High concentrations of PAHs which exceeded the WHO maximum permissible limit for the PAHs in drinking water (0.002 mg/L) were recorded from the borehole samples. Acenaphthene had the highest concentration of 0.88317 (0.202494 ± 0.0652) mg/L, while acenaphthylene had the least maximum concentration of 0.18837 (0.04978 ± 0.0123). However, naphthalene recorded concentrations of between 0.00058 and 0.52510 (0.0874576 ± 0.03472) mg/L, fluorene 0.00018 and 0.20438 (0.0527435 ± 0.01564) mg/L, phenanthrene 0.00041 and 0.26732 (0.0603780 ± 0.018634) mg/L, and anthracene between 0.00029 and 0.25084 (0.0692785 ± 0.0176569) mg/L. There was significant variance inequality in means of the PAHs measured across the sampling locations at P < 0.05 [F(971.1318) > Fcrit(3.85563)]. A further structure detection revealed that the inequalities were contributed by all the PAH components, especially between BH 3 and BH 1, BH 4 and BH 2 and 5, as well as between BH 6 and BH 10. Very strong associations were observed between the PAH components at P < 0.01. BH 8 recorded the highest contamination level of the various PAHs due basically to its proximity to the refinery’s effluent discharge point (Ekerekana Creek) and channel. Hence the source of these pollutants could best be fingerprinted to the nearby Port Harcourt Refinery Company’s effluent discharges. These PAHs are not only ingested by drinking contaminated waters, but are further consumed when this water is used to prepare foods. This creates a great cause for public health concerns especially as several PAHs are known carcinogens. It is therefore, recommended that technologically advanced techniques of water treatment be developed in order to take care of the presence of PAHs in drinking water sources of the coastal dwellers.
Cite this paper
nullC. Okoli, D. Ogbuagu, C. Gilbert, S. Madu and R. Njoku-Tony, "Proximal Input of Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Groundwater Sources of Okrika Mainland, Nigeria," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 2 No. 6, 2011, pp. 848-854. doi: 10.4236/jep.2011.26096.
 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (AT- SDR), “Public Health Statement for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs),” Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (ATSDR), US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services, Atlanta, 1995.
 A. Masih, R. Saini and A. Taneja, “Contamination and Exposure Profiles of Priority Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (Pahs) in Groundwater in a Semi-Arid Region in India,” International Journal of Water, Vol. 4, No. 1-2, 2008, pp. 136-147. doi:10.1504/IJW.2008.018152
 O. Duke, “Source Determination of Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Water and Sediment of a Creek in the Niger Delta Region,” African Journal of Biotechnology, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2008, pp. 282-285.
 R. J. Mahmood, “Enhanced Mobility of Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Unsaturated Soil,” Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Civil Environmental Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, 1989.
 D. A. Martens and T. Frankenberger Jr., “Enhanced Degradation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Soil Treated with an Advanced Oxidative Process—Fenton’s Reagent,” Journal of Soil Contamination, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1995, pp. 175-190.
 H. H. Yang, W. J. Lee, S. J. Cheng and S. O. Lai, “PAH Emission from Various Industrial Stacks,” Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 60, No. 2, 1998, pp. 159-174.
 J. C. Decker, “Potential Health Hazards of Toxic Residues in Sludge. In Sludge-Health Risk of Land Application,” Ann Arbor Science Publishers Inc., Ann Arbor, 1981, pp. 85-102.
 P. D. Boehm, D. L. Fiest and A. Elskus, “Comparative Weathering Patterns of Hydrocarbons from Amoco Cadiz Oil Spill Observed at a Variety of Coastal Environment,” International Symposium on the Fate and Effects of Oil Spill, Brest, 7 October 1981, pp. 159-173.
 U. Forstner and G. T. W. Wittmann, “Metal Pollution in the Aquatic Environment,” Spring-Verlag, New York, 1993.
 R. S. Sharma and T. S. Al-Busaidi, “Groundwater Pollution Due to a Tailings Dam,” Engineering Geology, Vol. 60, No. 1-4, 2001, pp. 235- 244.
 M. Abolfazi and A. P. Elahe, “Groundwater Quality and the Sources of Pollution in Baghan Watershed, Iran,” Journal of World Academy of Science, Vol. 43, 2008, pp. 28.
 World Health Organizations (WHO), “Non-heterocyclic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons,” Environmental Health Criteria, International Programme on Chemical Safety, World Health Organization, Geneva, Vol. 202, 1997.
 Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Lim- ited (SPDC), “Environmental Impact Assessment of Obigbo Node Associated Gas Gathering Project,” Final Report, Tial Trade Limited, 1998.
 P. Narayanan, “Environmental Pollution: Principles, An- alysis and Control,” CBS Publishers & Distributors, New Delhi, 2007, p. 659.
 R. Kaufmann and C. Claveland, “Environmental Sci- ence,” McGraw-Hill International, New York, 2008.
 C. Anyakora, A. Ogbeche, H. Coker, G. Ukpo and C. Ogoh, “A Screen for Benzo(a)pyrene, a Carcinogen in the Water Samples from the Niger Delta Using GC-MS,” Nigerian Quarterly Journal of Hospital and Medicine, Vol. 14, No. 3-4, 2004, pp. 288-293.
 World Health Organization (WHO), “Guidelines for Drining Water Quality,” Geneva, 1984.
 H. J. Evans, “Molecular Mechanisms in the Induction of Chromosome Aberration,” In: D. Scott, B. A. Bridges and F. H. Sobels, Eds., Progress in Genetic Toxicology, 1977, pp. 57-74.
 M. Cerna, “Mutagenicity Testing of Environmental Com- plex Mixtures (Air, Drinking Water, Industrial Effluents, Soil, etc.),” In: Abstract Book, INREG, Rockilde Univer- sity, Rockilde, 1996, p. 4.
 M. K. Z. El-Deeb and H. I. Emara, “Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Aromatic Plasticizer Materials in the Seawater of Alexandria Coastal Area,” Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research, Vol. 31, 2005, pp. 15-24.
 D. Okoro, “Source Determination of Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Water and Sediments of a Creek in the Niger Delta Region,” African Journal of Biotechnology, Vol.7, No. 3, 2007, pp. 282-285.