, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 325-332
Date: 26 Mar 2003

Heavy metals and metalloids in sediments from the Llobregat basin, Spain

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The concentration of heavy metals and metalloids (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Sb and Zn) in sediments from the River Llobregat and its tributaries (Anoia and Cardener) was studied. Samples collected at 17 locations during four different periods were analysed by ICP-MS. The heavy metal enrichment at some sites along the rivers reflects the effects of agricultural activities, sewage treatment plant effluents, collectors' discharges and industrial activities. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to describe trends in contamination and to find groupings among the investigated areas. The Llobregat and Cardener sediments appeared to have features of an unpolluted river, even though significant amounts of domestic and industrial wastewater are discharged into these rivers. On the other hand, the sediments from the River Anoia showed high Cr and Hg levels originating from industrial activities. The concentrations of Cr and Hg ranged from 91–540 and 0.28–2.29 μg/g respectively.