Heavy metals in Lake Balaton: Water column, suspended matter, sediment and biota

H. L. Nguyen, M. Leermakers, J. Osán, S. Török, W. Baeyens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

123 Citations (Scopus)


During the period 1999-2002, five sampling cruises have been carried out on Lake Balaton to assess trace metal distribution in the lake and to identify major sources. Eighteen elements, including Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb (trace metals) and Al, Ba, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, P, S, Sr (major metals), were determined in one or more of the lake's compartments. Lower trace metal concentrations in rainwater were observed in June and February 2000, while much higher levels were present in September 2001 (during a storm event) and in snow (February 2000). In the Northern and Western parts of the lake, especially at the inflow of river Zala and the locations of the yacht harbours, metal concentrations were higher in almost all compartments. Because the lake is very shallow, storm conditions also change significantly the metal distributions in the dissolved and particulate phases. The Kis-Balaton protection system located on Zala river functions very efficiently for retaining suspended particulate matter (SPM; 72% retention) and associated metals. Metal concentrations in surface sediments of the lake showed a high variability. After normalisation for the fine sediment fraction, only a few stations including Zala mouth appeared to be enriched in trace metals. In zooplankton, Zn seemed to be much more elevated compared to the other trace metals. Based on the molar ratios of the trace metals in the various compartments and input flows of the lake, several trends could be deduced. For example, molar ratios of the trace metals in the dissolved and solid (suspended particulate matter and sediments) phases in the lake are fairly similar to those in Zala River.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-230
Number of pages18
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 20 2005


  • Dissolved phase
  • Heavy metals
  • Lake Balaton
  • Rainwater
  • Sediment
  • Suspended particulate matter
  • Zooplankton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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