Ecological risk assessment of heavy metals in surface sediments of northern littoral zone of Lake Çıldır, Ardahan, Turkey

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Abstract

In this paper, the heavy metal levels (Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, Mn, Fe, As, Cd, Cr, Hg), organic carbon, and chlorophyll degradation products were studied to prove their ecological effects in Lake Çıldır, where fossil fuels are used as an energy source in the studied area for most of the year, and domestic waste from settlements is discharged directly into the lake. Sediment samples were collected from six sites on the northern shore of Çıldır Lake, Turkey in November 2012. Enrichment (EF) and contamination factor (CF) values were determined, and Pollution Load (PLI) and Potential Ecological Risk (PER) indices were calculated. Average concentrations of heavy metals in the sediments were, in descending order, Fe > Mn > Zn > Ni > Cr > Cu > Pb > As > Cd > Hg, respectively. According to mean values, the source of these elements may be considered natural due to lack of enrichment in Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, and Cr in the sediment samples. Regarding enrichment of As, Cd, Mn, and Hg, the highest EF belongs to Hg. PLI and PER values indicate there are moderate ecological risk in the lake.