Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 5222–5231 | Cite as

Impacts of urbanization on the distribution of heavy metals in soils along the Huangpu River, the drinking water source for Shanghai

  • Yang Bai
  • Min Wang
  • Chi PengEmail author
  • Juha M. Alatalo
Research Article


We investigated the horizontal and vertical distribution of heavy metals (Hg, Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd, As, Ni, and Cr) in soils in the water source protection zone for Shanghai to study the origins of these metals, their connections with urbanization, and their potential risk posed on the ecosystem. Determination of metal concentrations in 50 topsoil samples and nine soil profiles indicated that Hg, Pb, Zn, and Cu were present in significantly higher concentrations in topsoil than in deep soil layers. The spatial distributions of Hg, Pb, Zn, and Cu and contamination hotspots for these metals in the study area were similar to those near heavy industries and urban built-up areas. Emissions from automobiles resulted in increased soil concentrations of Cu, Pb, and Zn along roadsides, while high concentrations of Hg in the soil resulted from recent atmospheric deposition. Calculation of the potential ecological risk indicated that the integrative risk of these heavy metals in most areas was low, but a few sites surrounding high density of factories showed moderate risks.


Risk assessment Land use Vertical distribution Soil profile Suburban area Spatial analysis Heavy metals Potential ecological risk 



We gratefully acknowledge financial support provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41401588, 41501580).

Supplementary material

11356_2015_5745_MOESM1_ESM.docx (516 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 516 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Shanghai Academy of Environmental SciencesShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts and SciencesQatar UniversityDohaQatar

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