Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 3214–3225 | Cite as

Heavy metal contamination status and source apportionment in sediments of Songhua River Harbin region, Northeast China

  • Ning Li
  • Yu Tian
  • Jun Zhang
  • Wei Zuo
  • Wei Zhan
  • Jian Zhang
Fate and effect of pollutants in rivers: from analysis to modelling


The Songhua River represents one of the seven major river systems in China. It flows through Harbin city with 66 km long, locating in the northern China with a longer winter time. This paper aimed to study concentration distributions, stability, risk assessment, and source apportionment of heavy metals including chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and nickel (Ni) in 11 selected sections of the Songhua River Harbin region. Results showed that Cr, Cd, Pb, Hg, and As exceeded their respective geochemical background values in sediments of most monitoring sections. Compared with other important rivers and lakes in China, Cr, Hg, Cd, and As pollutions in surface sediments were above medium level. Further analysis of chemical speciation indicated that Cr and As in surface sediments were relatively stable while Pb and Cd were easily bioavailable. Correlation analysis revealed sources of these metals except As might be identical. Pollution levels and ecological risks of heavy metals in surface sediments presented higher in the mainstream region (45° 47.0′ N ~ 45° 53.3′ N, 126° 37.0′ E ~ 126° 42.1′ E). Source apportionment found Hejiagou and Ashi River were the main contributors to metal pollution of this region. Thus, anthropogenic activities along the Hejiagou and Ashi River should be restricted in order to protect the Songhua River Harbin region from metal contamination.


Heavy metal contamination Sediments Songhua River Risk assessment Source apportionment 



This study was supported by the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Management (No. 2013ZX07201007, 2014ZX07201012), the State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology (No. 2014DX03) and the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education (No. 20112302110060). The authors also appreciate the Funds for Creative Research Groups of China (No. 51121062).

The authors also appreciate the Open Project of State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology (QA201609-02), the Heilongjiang Postdoctoral Science Foundation (LBH-Z14093), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. HIT.NSRIF. 2015096).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment (SKLUWRE)School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Harbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinChina
  2. 2.Harbin CityPeople’s Republic of China

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