Material transport between the atmosphere and sediment of the Lake Balaton

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A monitoring system was developed to gain information on the present level of pollutants in the Lake Balaton, Hungary. Determination of 13 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and inorganic pollutants (mostly toxic metals) in aerosol, precipitation and sediment samples was carried out. The aim of collecting aerosol and precipitate samples in the same site at the same period was to determine the distribution of elements in two depositions. For the fractionation by particle size, aerosols were sampled by a cascade impactor. A simple three-stage sequential leaching procedure was applied to establish the distribution of metals among environmentally mobile, bound to carbonates and oxides, and environmentally immobile, (bound to silicates) fractions in aerosols. Sediment samples were collected from 17 different sites inside of the lake and 10 sites at harbors at 30-70 cm in depth. Core samples were cut to 10-cm pieces, dried at room temperature, and finally passed through a 63-μm sieve. Total concentrations of elements were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) after an acidic digestion. The concentrations of PAHs were determined by HPLC method with fluorescence detection. In aerosol samples collected from September 6, 2002 to January 26, 2003, concentration of Cd was <0.1 μg/m3, and the majority of Cd has been found in the mobile fraction. Cadmium was associated to particles between 0.25 and 2 μm indicating the anthropogenic origin. Similar distribution of Pb was obtained in all seasons, and the highest concentration of Pb was found as 8.6 ng/m 3 in particle size of 0.7 and 1.4 μm. Results of total concentration of elements of bottom sediments of the Lake Balaton and harbors were compared to Interim Sediment Quality Guideline (ISQG) values and the Probable Effect Level (PEL) values. Data showed that the average concentrations of elements were usually less than those of ISQGs and other background data for soils and geochemical values. The sediment is not polluted and its disposal is feasible. There is no direct correlation between the concentration of elements deposited onto the surface of the lake from dry and wet deposition and the upper part of the sediment. So, from the budget of the deposition, the concentration of elements in the upper layer of the sediment cannot be predicted. Seasonal changes of the concentration of PAHs in aerosol was observed, samples collected at winter contained the highest values. In December-January 2002/2003, the wet deposition was found as 64 μg/m2 period. Among the individual compounds, the wet deposition rate of phenantrane, fluoranthene and pyrene was dominant, while for dry deposition, these compounds were fluoranthene and pyrene. The concentrations of ∑PAHs found for all sites and depth of sediment samples ranged from 11 to 1734 μg/kg dry weight with an average of 132 μg/kg. These values represent a quite low pollution level compared to other sediment with anthropogenic influence. Based on the results, it can be definitely confirmed that the chemical quality of the water and sediment of the Lake Balaton is satisfactory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-230
Number of pages10
JournalMicrochemical Journal
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2005



  • Atmospheric aerosol
  • Dry and wet deposition
  • Metals
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Precipitation
  • Sediment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy

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