Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 207, Issue 1–4, pp 57–71 | Cite as

Simultaneous Use of Trace Metals, 210Pb and 137Cs in Floodplain Sediments of a Lowland River as Indicators of Anthropogenic Impacts

  • Edyta Łokas
  • Przemyslaw Wachniew
  • Dariusz Ciszewski
  • Piotr Owczarek
  • Nguyen Dinh Chau


This study focuses on the distribution of selected trace metals, 137Cs and 210Pb, in floodplain deposits of the lowland Warta River (southern Poland) downstream of Częstochowa, a large city with an iron smelter. The depth profiles of trace metal (Zn, Pb, Cu, Ni, Cd and Mn), 210Pb and 137Cs contents in floodplain sediments were used to derive deposition rates on the floodplain for the twentieth century. The applicability of particular chronometric tools is considered within the context of their mutual relationships and confirmed by the consistency of the results. Deposition rate estimates for the past 50 years based on the vertical patterns of trace metal concentrations, which were correlated with particular events in the development of the smelter, range from 0.4 cm·year−1 in profiles situated in backswamps far from the channel to over 1.1 cm·year−1 in profiles of the natural levee adjacent to the river. Deposition rates based on 210Pb inventories in the profiles range from 0.08 to 0.66 g·cm−2·year−1, which corresponds to linear sedimentation rates of 0.10 to 0.91 cm·year−1, respectively. Dating of characteristic levels associated with peak fallout of 137Cs gives sediment accretion rates resembling those obtained from trace metals and 210Pb. The period of the highest sediment accumulation rate could be related to the highest loads of effluent from the iron smelter and city of Częstochowa, which were substantially reduced after the construction of effluent treatment plant.


Trace metals 137Cs 210Pb Overbank sediments River pollution 



This research project was financed by the State Committee for Scientific Research from the budgetary funds in the years 2005–2006 (2 P04G 012 28).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edyta Łokas
    • 1
  • Przemyslaw Wachniew
    • 2
  • Dariusz Ciszewski
    • 3
  • Piotr Owczarek
    • 4
  • Nguyen Dinh Chau
    • 2
  1. 1.The Henryk Niewodniczański Institute of Nuclear PhysicsPolish Academy of SciencesKrakówPoland
  2. 2.AGH–University of Science and TechnologyKrakówPoland
  3. 3.Institute of Nature ConservationPolish Academy of SciencesKrakówPoland
  4. 4.Institute of Geography and Regional DevelopmentUniversity of WrocławWrocławPoland

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