Aquatic Geochemistry

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 173–193

Relationships Between Geochemical Parameters (pH, DOC, SPM, EDTA Concentrations) and Trace Metal (Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn) Concentrations in River Waters of Texas (USA)

  • Kuo-Tung Jiann
  • Peter H. Santschi
  • Bobby J. Presley
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10498-013-9187-6

Cite this article as:
Jiann, KT., Santschi, P.H. & Presley, B.J. Aquat Geochem (2013) 19: 173. doi:10.1007/s10498-013-9187-6


Water samples from eight major Texas rivers were collected at different times during 1997–1998 to determine the dissolved and particulate trace metal concentrations, expected to show differences in climate patterns, river discharge and other hydrochemical conditions, and human activities along the different rivers. Specifically, two eastern Texas rivers (Sabine, Neches) lie in a region with high vegetation, flat topography, and high rainfall rates, while four Central Texas rivers (Trinity, Brazos, Colorado, and San Antonio) flow through large population centers. Relatively high dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in the eastern Texas rivers and lower pH led to higher Fe and Mn concentrations in river waters. The rivers that flow through large population centers showed elevated trace metal (e.g., Cd, Pb, Zn) concentrations partly due to anthropogenically produced organic ligands such as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) present in these rivers. Trace metal levels were reduced below dams/reservoirs along several Texas rivers. Statistical analysis revealed four major factors (suspended particulate matter [SPM], EDTA, pH, and DOC) that can explain most of the observed variability of trace metal concentrations in these rivers. SPM concentrations directly controlled particulate metal contents. Variation in pH correlated with changes of dissolved Co, Fe, Mn, and Ni, and particulate Mn concentrations, while DOC concentrations were significantly related to dissolved Fe concentrations. Most importantly, it was found that, more than pH, EDTA concentrations exerted a major control on dissolved concentrations of Cd and Zn, and, to a lesser extent, Cu, Ni, and Pb.


Trace metals EDTA Rivers Watersheds Texas 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kuo-Tung Jiann
    • 1
  • Peter H. Santschi
    • 2
  • Bobby J. Presley
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Marine Geology and ChemistryNational Sun Yat-sen University804 KaohsiungTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Oceanography and Marine SciencesTexas A&M University at GalvestonGalvestonUSA
  3. 3.Department of OceanographyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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