Role of monsoon rain on concentrations and dispersion patterns of metal pollutants in sediments and soils of the Ganga Plain, India
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Monsoon rain causes large scale sediment-water movement and reworking of sediments of the Ganga Plain which is one of the largest fluvial systems on Earth. Geomorphology and drainage type combined with sedimentation processes play a substantial role on dispersion and transport patterns of metals bound to sediments and soils. The study area of Kanpur-Unnao industrial region in the Ganga Plain has been divided into five independent geochemical domains on the basis of sediment-geomorphic, hydrological and geochemical characters. The monsoon hydrography and physico-chemical parameters (pH, conductivity) of the river and urban drain waters play a prominent role in regulating the concentrations and behaviour of the metals in the aquatic system of the Ganga Plain. Values of pH and specific electrical conductivity of the river water of the study area decrease whereas those of the urban drain water increase in post-monsoon period. The monsoon rain reduces the contents of Co, C-org, Cr, Fe and Ni and enhances the contents of Cd, Sn and Zn in sediments of post-monsoon period. In soils, it reduces the contents of Al, Co, Fe, Mn and Ni and enhances the contents of Cd, Sn and Zn in the post-monsoon period. These changes in concentrations vary from metal to metal and from one geochemical domain to the other. An increase in the concentrations of few metals in the soils from pre- to post-monsoon periods indicates that these metals were mobilized from the overflooding of metal rich waste-water onto the fields during high water stage and also by reworking of the soils through sheet floods during the monsoon time. Despite the changes in concentrations, metal dispersion patterns in each domain remain similar both in pre- and post-monsoon periods which indicate that the geochemical and sediment-geomorphic processes operating for the metal dispersion and mobilization in sediments are persistent even after large scale sediment-water movement and reworking of the sediments during the monsoon period.
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