Particulate matter concentrations and heavy metal contamination levels in the railway transport system of Sydney, Australia

Sampling campaign was conducted over six weeks to determine particulate matter (PM) concentrations from Sydney Trains airport line (T2) at both underground and ground levels using DustTrak. Dust samples were collected and analysed for 12 metals (Fe, Ca, Mn, Cr, Zn, Cu, Pb, Al, Co, Ni, Ba and Na) by atomic emission spectroscopy. Average underground PM₁₀ and PM₂.₅ concentrations from inside the trains were 2.8 and 2.5 times greater than at ground level. Similarly, PM₁₀ and PM₂.₅ concentrations on underground platforms were 2.7 and 2.5 times greater than ground level platforms. Average underground PM concentrations exceeded the national air quality standards for both PM₁₀ (50 µg/m³) and PM₂.₅ (25 µg/m³). Correlation analysis showed a strong to moderate association between PM concentrations at ground level and background PM concentrations (r2 from 0.952 to 0.500). The findings suggested that underground PM concentrations were less influenced by the ambient background than at ground level. The metal concentrations decreased in the order of Fe, Cr, Ca, Al, Na, Ba, Mn, Zn, Cu, Ni, Co and Pb. The pollution index (PI) and enrichment factor (EF) values were calculated to identify the levels and sources of contamination in the underground railway microenvironments. PM was remarkably rich in Fe with a mean concentration of 73.51 mg/g and EF of 61.31, followed by Ni and Cr. These results noticeably indicated a high level of metal contamination in the underground environments, with the principal contribution from track abrasion and wear processes.


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  • Accession Number: 01678178
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 25 2018 3:25PM