Levels, sources and risk assessment of trace elements in wetland soils of a typical shallow freshwater lake, China

  • Haifeng Gao
  • Junhong Bai
  • Rong Xiao
  • Peipei Liu
  • Wei Jiang
  • Junjing Wang
Original Paper


The deteriorating environmental conditions of Baiyangdian Lake have caused a wide public concern. Surface soils (0–20 cm) were collected at 10 sites of reed wetlands in raised fields of the Baiyangdian Lake. They were analyzed for total contents of trace elements to investigate their distribution and pollution levels in wetland soils of this region. Results showed that the mean contents of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn all exceeded their environmental background values of Hebei Province and had various degree of spatial variations. As, Cr and Ni contents exceeded considerably the probable effect levels. Multivariate analysis indicated that Cr, Cd, Ni, Cu, Pb and Zn had common sources and As had different sources for these trace elements. The average toxic units (TU) of trace elements in the Baiyangdian Lake followed the order As > Ni > Cr > Zn > Pb > Cu > Cd. As, Ni and Cr made the higher contributions to ΣTUs (i.e., 41.3 ± 7.2, 21.8 ± 4.1 and 16.2 ± 2.8 %, respectively). The potential ecological risk index of Cd \( \left( {E_{r}^{i} } \right) \) was 213.44, which was the highest value in the Baiyangdian Lake. The other trace elements had lower potential ecological risk indices (<40), following the order Cd > As > Cu > Pb = Ni > Cr > Zn. Potential toxicity response indices (RI) of trace elements for the whole lake region was 269.81, with a moderate potential toxicity response.


Trace elements Wetland soils Toxic units Potential ecological risk Baiyangdian Lake 



This work was financially supported by National Science and Technology Major Water Project (No. 2009ZX07209-008-03), National Nature Science Foundation (No. 51179006), Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NECT-10-0235) and the Fok Ying Tung Education Foundation (132009). The authors also thank Dr. G. Christokas for critical reading and valuable comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haifeng Gao
    • 1
  • Junhong Bai
    • 1
  • Rong Xiao
    • 1
  • Peipei Liu
    • 1
  • Wei Jiang
    • 1
  • Junjing Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of EnvironmentBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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