Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 2010, Vol.171(1), pp.395-410
The Haraz River is one of the most significant rivers in the southern Caspian Sea basin. Towards the estuary, the river receives discharges of industrial, agricultural, and urban wastes. In the present investigation, bulk concentrations of Cu, Zn, As, Cd, Pb, Fe, Ni, Cr, Co, and Sr in Haraz River (Iran) bed sediments were measured from several sample locations. In addition, association of studied metals with various sedimentary phases was assessed to determine the proportions of metals in different forms. The intensity of sediment contamination was evaluated using an enrichment factor (EF), geo-accumulation index (I geo ), and a newly developed pollution index (I poll ). Both EF and I geo formulae compare present concentrations of metals to their background levels in crust and shale, respectively. In a specific area with its own geological background like Haraz River water basin where naturally high concentrations of metals may be found, such a comparison may lead to biased conclusions regarding levels of anthropogenic contamination. Accordingly, chemical partitioning results are substituted for the mean crust and shale levels in the new index (I poll ). The Pearson correlation coefficient between the anthropogenic portion of metallic pollution in Haraz river-bed sediments with I poll showed much more value in comparison with those of geochemical accumulation index and enrichment factor. The order of metals introduced by anthropogenic activities are as follows: Sr 〉 Pb 〉 Co 〉 Cd 〉 Zn 〉 Cu 〉 Ni 〉 As 〉 Cr 〉 Fe. The results showed relatively higher concentrations of Cd, As, Sr, and Pb in comparison with those of shale. However, based on the chemical partitioning of metals, it is found that Sr, Pb, Co, and Cd are the most mobile metals. In spite of the high As concentrations in sediments, it is not likely that this element is a major hazard for the aquatic environment since it is found mainly in the residual fraction. Also, Fe, Cr, and Ni are present in the greatest percentages in the residual fraction, which implies that these metals are strongly linked to the sediments.
Chemical partitioning ; Metal species ; Anthropogenic pollution index (I) ; River sediment
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