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Journal Articles Water Science and Technology Year : 2008

Sterols: a tracer of organic matter in combined sewers


The important organic pollution of combined wet weather flows (WWF), its acute impact on receiving waters have been widely demonstrated. The main three possibly origins for this organic pollution are: runoff water (streets and roofs), wastewater and erosion of sewer sediments in combined sewer system. This work, for tracing the origin of organic particles bound in combined sewer system, has been focused on the innovative use of sterols. So, eight sterols have been selected and analysed for each kind of sample. Results are represented in contents of sterols (mu gg(-1)) and in sterol profiles (%). The comparison of contents and profiles leads the separation between two groups: runoff water, characterized by the total absence of coprostanol, epicoprostanol and coprostanone, and the group of sewer deposits (gross bed sediment (GBS), organic layer (OL), biofilms) and wastewater. Moreover, sewer deposits and wastewater can be distinguished by their sterol contents and profiles. To evaluate their contribution to WWF a comparison between sterol signatures is done which shows that these effluents have a strong similarity in profiles and in contents of sterols to the organic layer.


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Dates and versions

hal-00711601 , version 1 (25-06-2012)



S. Zgheib, Marie-Christine Gromaire, C. Lorgeoux, M. Saad, Ghassan Chebbo. Sterols: a tracer of organic matter in combined sewers. Water Science and Technology, 2008, 57 (11), pp.1705--1712. ⟨10.2166/wst.2008.285⟩. ⟨hal-00711601⟩
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