Assessment of the environmental significance of heavy metal pollution in surficial sediments of the River Po

A. Farkas, Claudio Erratico, Luigi Viganò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The magnitude and ecological relevance of metal pollution of the middle Po river deriving from the River Lambro tributary was investigated by applying different (complementary) sediment quality assessment approaches: (1) comparisons of concentrations with regional reference data, and (2) comparisons with consensus-based sediment quality guidelines (SQGs), as well as by investigations of the partitioning patterns of target heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn). Total metal concentrations in the surficial sediments revealed significant pollution inputs on the whole river stretch investigated, with a distinct peak at the inlet of the River Lambro. Based on the geoaccumulation index of target heavy metals, the middle reach of River Po has to be considered as moderately polluted with Cd (1 <mean Igeo <2). At the Lambro inlet the surficial sediments have to be considered as moderately to strongly polluted with Cd (2 <mean Igeo <3) and moderately polluted with Cu, Pb and Zn (1 <mean Igeo <2 for each). Sediment-bound Cd, and Zn were found to be predominantly associated with the exchangeable phase of the sediment (33-58% and 25-43%, respectively), whereas Cu, Ni and Pb showed the strongest association with the Fe/Mn oxides (34-64%, 34-46% and 29-45%, respectively). Based on the consensus-based SQGs, most samples (50-63%) had contamination characteristics associated with moderate probabilities (30-52%) of acute toxicity for all investigated metals, while Cu and Zn in ∼13% of samples revealed contamination characteristics associated with high probabilities (74-85%) of toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-768
Number of pages8
JournalChemosphere
Volume68
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007

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Surficial sediments
surficial sediment
Heavy Metals
Rivers
Heavy metals
Sediments
Pollution
heavy metal
pollution
river
sediment
Metals
Toxicity
metal
Contamination
Guidelines
toxicity
geoaccumulation index
Oxides
tributary

Keywords

  • Contaminant metals
  • Index of geoaccumulation
  • Sediment quality guidelines
  • Sequential extraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Assessment of the environmental significance of heavy metal pollution in surficial sediments of the River Po. / Farkas, A.; Erratico, Claudio; Viganò, Luigi.

In: Chemosphere, Vol. 68, No. 4, 06.2007, p. 761-768.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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