The Langat River in Malaysia has been experiencing anthropogenic input from urban, rural and industrial activities for many years. Sewage contamination, possibly originating from the greater than three million inhabitants of the Langat River Basin, were examined. Sediment samples from 22 stations (SL01-SL22) along the Langat River were collected, extracted and analysed by GC-MS. Six different sterols were identified and quantified. The highest sterol concentration was found at station SL02 (618.29 ng/g dry weight), which situated in the Balak River whereas the other sediment samples ranged between 11.60 and 446.52 ng/g dry weight. Sterol ratios were used to identify sources, occurrence and partitioning of faecal matter in sediments and majority of the ratios clearly demonstrated that sewage contamination was occurring at most stations in the Langat River. A multivariate statistical analysis was used in conjunction with a combination of biomarkers to better understand the data that clearly separated the compounds. Most sediments of the Langat River were found to contain low to mid-range sewage contamination with some containing 'significant' levels of contamination. This is the first report on sewage pollution in the Langat River based on a combination of biomarker and multivariate statistical approaches that will establish a new standard for sewage detection using faecal sterols.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.