Identification of a Potential Toxic Hot Spot Associated with AVS Spatial and Seasonal Variation

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Abstract

In risk assessment of aquatic sediments, much attention is paid to the difference between acid-volatile sulfide (AVS) and simultaneously extracted metals (SEMs) as indicators of metal availability. Ten representative sampling sites were selected along the estuary of the Guadalete River. Surficial sediments were sampled in winter and summer to better understand SEM and AVS spatial and seasonal distributions and to establish priority risk areas. Total SEM concentration (ΣSEM) ranged from 0.3 to 4.7 μmol g−1. It was not significantly different between seasons, however, it showed a significant difference between sampling stations. AVS concentrations were much more variable, showing significant spatial and temporal variations. The values ranged from 0.8 to 22.4 μmol g−1. The SEM/AVS ratio was found to be <1 at all except one station located near the mouth of the estuary. The results provided information on a potential pollution source near the mouth of the estuary, probably associated with vessel-related activities carried out in a local harbor area located near the station.