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Risk assessment of heavy metals in pipe scales and loose deposits formed in drinking water distribution systems

Gao, Jiali, Liu, Quanli, Song, Laizhou, Shi, Baoyou
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.652 pp. 1387-1395
aluminum, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, drinking water, guidelines, health effects assessments, heavy metals, iron, iron oxides, lead, manganese, manganese oxides, nickel, risk, risk assessment, sediments, vanadium, water distribution, water quality, zinc
The accumulation of inorganic contaminants in drinking water distribution systems (DWDS) can greatly threaten water quality and safety. This work mainly focused on the accumulation, speciation and risk assessment of inorganic contaminants found in pipe scales and loose deposits in DWDS. Global contamination factor (GCF), risk assessment code (RAC) and consensus-based sediment quality guidelines (CBSQGs) were adopted for the potential health risk assessment of inorganic contaminants. The Tessier sequential extraction method was used to study the speciation distribution of inorganic contaminants in fourteen samples (six pipe scale samples, eight loose deposit samples) collected from real DWDS. The significant correlation between Al and Mn showed there was a co-occurrence behavior of Al and Mn in pipe scales and loose deposits. In addition to the possible interactions between Al and Mn, Ba, Cu and As were possibly accumulated during the formation of Al and Mn commixtures. Mn, Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, Co and Ba in the samples were mainly associated with the Fe-Mn oxides fraction, which indicated Fe-Mn oxides might play an important role in the accumulation and release of these inorganic contaminants. Fe, Al, As, Cr, V and Cd mainly existed in the residual fraction, which indicated their low mobility. The GCF results demonstrated that most of the sample sites had a certain environmental risk. The RAC results showed that high risk mainly resulted from Cd both in pipe scales and loose deposits. According to the CBSQGs evaluation, heavy metals in loose deposits were more harmful, and Ba exhibited the highest risk among all heavy metals.