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Assessment of heavy metal pollution, distribution and quantitative source apportionment in surface sediments along a partially mixed estuary (Modaomen, China)

Liu, Qiuxin, Jia, Zhenzhen, Li, Shiyu, Hu, Jiatang
Chemosphere 2019 v.225 pp. 829-838
adverse effects, alloys, aluminum, anthropogenic activities, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, estuaries, geostatistics, guidelines, heavy metals, industry, lead, mixing, nickel, pollution, risk, rivers, sediments, zinc, China
The aim of this study is to investigate the distribution, ecological risk and quantitative source apportionment of seven heavy metals in surface sediments along a partially mixed estuary (Modaomen, China). The study area was divided into three regions based on salt-freshwater mixing: a tidal river channel, weakly mixed zone and strongly mixed zone. The concentrations of Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, Cr and Ni were significantly higher in the weakly mixed zone, while a higher Co content was found in the tidal river channel. From enrichment factor (EF) analyses, Cd was moderate to extreme severely enriched at most stations, and other heavy metals were minor enrichments. Adverse effects on aquatic biota may occur occasionally for all seven heavy metals based on the sediment quality guidelines (SQGs). The correlations between Al and heavy metals suggested that metals in sediments were mainly attributed to anthropogenic sources. Then Positive matrix factorization (PMF) and Geostatistic method were used to quantify the heavy metal sources and determine impacted regions. A mixed source from the inner Lingding Bay and West River contributed approximately 50% of the Cu, Zn, Pb, Cr and Ni. The electroplating industry accounted for about 57% of the Cd content, and the major contaminated area was concentrated at the confluence of the West River and its tributaries. The alloy industry contributed approximately 65% of the Co, most of which was near an industrial park.