Assessment of heavy metals contamination in Mamut river sediments using sediment quality guidelines and geochemical indices

  • Bibi Noorarlijannah Mohammad Ali
  • Chin Yik LinEmail author
  • Fera Cleophas
  • Mohd Harun Abdullah
  • Baba Musta


This paper describes the concentration of selected heavy metals (Co, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) in the Mamut river sediments and evaluate the degree of contamination of the river polluted by a disused copper mine. Based on the analytical results, copper showed the highest concentration in most of the river samples. A comparison with Interim Canadian Sediment Quality Guidelines (ICSQG) and Germany Sediment Quality Guidelines (GSQG) indicated that the sediment samples in all the sampling stations, except Mamut river control site (M1), exceeded the limit established for Cu, Ni, and Pb. On the contrary, Zn concentrations were reported well below the guidelines limit (ICSQG and GSQG). Mineralogical analysis indicated that the Mamut river sediments were primarily composed of quartz and accessory minerals such as chalcopyrite, pyrite, edenite, kaolinite, mica, and muscovite, reflected by the geological character of the study area. Enrichment factor (EF) and geoaccumulation index (I geo ) were calculated to evaluate the heavy metal pollution in river sediments. I geo values indicated that all the sites were strongly polluted with the studied metals in most sampling stations, specifically those located along the Mamut main stream. The enrichment factor with value greater than 1.5 suggested that the source of heavy metals was mainly derived from anthropogenic activity such as mining. The degree of metal changes (δfold) revealed that Cu concentration in the river sediments has increased as much as 20 to 38 folds since the preliminary investigation conducted in year 2004.


Geoaccumulation index Enrichment factor River Pollution Heavy metal Mineralogy 



The first and second author (Bibi Noorarlijannah Mohammad Ali and Chin Yik Lin) would like to thank UNU-GIST and World Federation Scientist (WFS) for the financial support and Dr. Sarva Mangala Praveena, Ms. Feona Isidore, Mr. Morius Bangkas, Mr. Neldin Geoffrey, Mr. Mohd. Syaufi Lamjin and Mr. Mohd. Recheidy for the assistance in the field and laboratory analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bibi Noorarlijannah Mohammad Ali
    • 1
  • Chin Yik Lin
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Fera Cleophas
    • 1
  • Mohd Harun Abdullah
    • 2
  • Baba Musta
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Malaysia Sabah, Jalan UMSKota KinabaluMalaysia
  2. 2.Water Research Unit, Faculty of Science and Natural ResourcesUniversiti Malaysia Sabah, Jalan UMSKota KinabaluMalaysia
  3. 3.School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia

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