Waste Water Monitoring in Akouedo/Abidjan, Cote d´ Ivoire with Gaiasafe Passive Collectors (PC)

Rainer Haas1,2, Cynthia Sie2, Alfred Krippendorf3, Bini Dongui4, Fritz Pfeiffer1

1: Büro für Altlastenerkundung und Umweltforschung, Stadtwaldstr. 45a, D – 35037 Marburg, email: haasr@gmx.net

2: BFAU – Office Abidjan, Riviera III, Cite EECI, Villa No. 314, Abidjan, Cote d´ Ivoire, email: abidjan@gaiasafe.de

3: Hazard Control GmbH, Versuchsfeld Trauen, D – 29328 Fassberg, email: Hazard.Control.GmbH@t-online.de

4: University of Cocody, Faculty of Chermistry, 08BP10 Abidjan 08, Cote d´Ivoire, email: bdongui@yahoo.fr


Contamination load and distribution of contaminants is shown. Gaiasafe Passive Collectors have been used successfully to determine single compounds out of the contamination load. Furthermore the spreading and biodegradation of contaminants was monitored over a large area in Abidjan. Only a few days after the dumping the chemical waste from Probo Koala was detected in the surface water, after two weeks the waste was not longer detectable.

The use of Gaiasafe Passive Collectors supports environmental monitoring effectively by its unique integral sorption capability. Direct contact of PC with water offer a close and realistic view onto the contamination load.

Keywords: Passive Collectors, Water Monitoring, Environmental Pollution, Gaiasafe, Probo Coala, Abidjan


The Gaiasafe Passive Collectors (PC) consist of a paper arrangement of different active sorption fibres. This PC’s are capable of collecting all organic compounds, heavy metals and metalloids and can be used in all environmental settings.

The PC’s are suited for surface and ground water monitoring, with an effective collection time interval of 1 to 8 weeks, depending on the amount of present contaminations.

Application of PC yields the medium load contamination during the collecting time. Field use, handling and transfer of PC samples are very simple. After their use, the PC’s are dried and stored in suitable shipping containers. The low item weight of 2.7 grams enables easy shipment even from remote sites.

Monitoring with Passive Collectors (PC)

Waste water monitoring with PC’s was done in the Abidjan area during April 2006. Four sampling positions were chosen and monitored by the PC’s for one week:

Lix 1: Black water directly at the waste disposal site

Lix 2: Black water 1 km downstream from the waste disposal site

Lix 3: Black water diluted by a small river

Lix 4: Lagoon at the mouth of the river.

At the end of August, liquid chemical waste were dumped illegally by the crew of Probo Koala, a tanker under Panamanian flag, on several sites in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast economic capital.

These substances are held responsible for the death of ten persons, and more than 100.000 medical consultations. Individuals affected suffered from diarrhoea, nausea or from blood discharge out of the upper ventilatory system.

In response to this particular incident two monitoring sessions were done at the station Lix 1 in September 2006:

Sample AC 1: Monitoring time 1.9.06 – 7.9.06

Sample AC 2: Monitoring time 25.9.06 – 3.10.06.

The PC’s were dried onsite, subsequently transferred to Germany and subjected to laboratory examination. The preparation of the PC’s was done as follows: samples were extracted with methanol and analysed with Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).


With GC/MS-analysis alpha-Pinen and D-Limonen were identified in all samples. The following compounds were identified additionally in the six samples:

a) Lix 1:

PAK: 2-Ethylacridine, Disopropylnaphthaline, Tetramethyl-biphenyl

Aromatic hydrocarbons: Dimethylethylbenzene, Phenol, Methylphenole, 4,4´-Methylethylidenphenol

Phthalates: Ethylhexylphthalate.

b) Lix 2:

PAK: 2-Ethylacridine

Aromatic hydrocarbons: Dimethylbenzene, Dimethylethylbenzene, Trimethylbenzene, Methylphenol

Phthalates: Dibutylphthalate.

c) Lix 3:

PAK: 2-Ethylacridine

Aromatic hydrocarbons: Toluene, Trimethylbenzene.

d) Lix 4:

PAK: 2-Ethylacridine

Aromatic hydrocarbons: Toluene, Trimethylbenzene

Phthalates: Dibutylphthalate.

e) AC 1:

PAK: Indol, Diisopropylnaphthaline

Aliphatic hydrocarbons: Dodecane

Aromatic hydrocarbons: Toluene, Ethylmethylbenzene, Trimethylbenzene, Phenol, Methylphenol (3 Isomers), Dimethylphenol, Ethylphenol, 4,4´-Methylethylidenphenol

Phthalates: Methylpropylphthalate, Butyldecylphthalate, Dioctylphthalate.

f) AC 2/2:

Aromatic hydrocarbons: Toluene, Xylene, 4,4´-Methylethylidenphenol

Phthalates: Dipropylphthalate.


The result of the April monitoring (samples Lix 1 – Lix 4) shows dilution effects on the way downstream.

All the way down from the waste disposal site to the mouth of the river in the lagoon dilution and microbial degradation could be observed: only the PAK 2-Ethylacridine is present in all samples, other PAK and Phenols could be found in sample Lix 1 only.

In the tidal area of the lagoon Toluene and Trimethyltoluene were detected.

The effect of dumping the liquid chemical waste from Probo Koala at August 2006 was observed:

Sample AC 1 contained additional substances, mainly Indol, Dodecan, some Phenols and some Phthalates compared to the reference investigation in April 2006 (Lix 1).

Two weeks later (sample AC 2/2), the afore mentioned substances were no longer detectable.


The result shows, that the liquid chemical waste from Probo Koala was detected in the surface water only a few days after dumping. Two weeks later the specific substances were no longer detectable.

It would habe been nearly impossible to do such monitoring under the specific conditions in Abidjan with “normal” water analysis because of the missing infrastructure. With the gaiasafe passive collectors such monitoring is easy because of the integral sorption of the compounds and the easy handling.


R. Haas, F. Pfeiffer: Grund- und Oberflächenwassermonitoring mit gaiasafe-Passivsammlern. Poster 7. Symposium „Natural Attenuation“ 21./22.11.05 Dechema, Frankfurt/Main, p. 120.

R. Haas, F. Pfeiffer: Gaiasafe Passive Collectors for Water and Gas Analysis. Poster 2nd International Passive Sampling Workshop and Symposium, 3rd May - 6th May, 2006 in Bratislava, Slovakia.