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A comparative study of metal pollution and potential eco-risk in the sediment of Chaohu Lake (China) based on total concentration and chemical speciation

Liu, Enfeng, Shen, Ji
Environmental science and pollution research international 2014 v.21 no.12 pp. 7285-7295
chemical speciation, copper, lakes, lead, pollution, risk assessment, rivers, sediments, zinc, China
Total and extractable concentrations of Cu, Pb, and Zn were determined in surface sediments of west Chaohu Lake (China) by HCl-HNO₃-HF-HClO₄digestion and an optimized BCR sequential extraction procedure, respectively. The metal pollution was evaluated by the enrichment factor approach, and the potential eco-risk was evaluated by the sediment quality guideline (SQG) and risk assessment code (RAC) assessments. The results indicated that both total and extractable metal concentrations were highly variable and were affected by sediment properties, even though the sediments were predominantly composed of <63-μm particles (>89 %). Enrichment factors of the metals based on the total and extractable concentrations all showed higher values in the northern lake area and decreasing values towards the south. This distribution indicated an input of anthropogenic metals via the Nanfei River. Anthropogenic Cu, Pb, and Zn in surface sediments showed comparable values for each metal based on the total and extractable concentrations, suggesting that anthropogenic Cu, Pb, and Zn resided predominantly in the extractable fractions. Sediment Cu had low eco-risk, and Pb and Zn had medium eco-risk by the SQG assessment, whereas the eco-risk rankings of Cu, Pb, and Zn were medium, low, and low–high, respectively, by the RAC assessment. Referencing to the labile (dilute acid soluble) metal concentrations, we deduced that the eco-risk of Cu may be largely overestimated by the RAC assessment, and the eco-risk of Pb may be largely overestimated by the SQG assessment. Overall, sediments Cu and Pb may pose low eco-risk, and Zn may pose low–high eco-risk.