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Heavy metal pollution status and ecological risks of sediments under the influence of water transfers in Taihu Lake, China

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The effects of water transfer projects on water channels and the receiving water involved need to be understood. In this research, the compositions and particle size distributions of surface sediment and the Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn contents and distributions in the sediment along a water transfer route from the Wangyu River to Taihu Lake, China, were studied. The correlative relationship between the grain size trend and heavy metal content distribution suggested that heavy metals in Wangyu River sediment have affected the heavy metal contents of Taihu Lake sediment through silt and clay migrating in the transferred water. Enrichment factors and potential ecological risk values were calculated. Low levels of potential ecological risks are posed at 20 sampling sites in Taihu Lake, but higher-to-serious risks (potential ecological risk values >275) are posed at all Wangyu River sites. Toxicity of heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Zn, and Ni) in the Wangyu River sediments is more serious than those in the Taihu Lake, but is similar to the entrance of Gonghu Bay. Multivariate statistical analyses (Pearson correlation, cluster, and factor analyses) suggested heavy metals in the study area have many sources, and the relationships between particle migration and heavy metal contents indicated transferring water are likely to lead to adverse ecological risks being posed in Taihu Lake.

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We also appreciate the generous financial support of this work provided by the National Science Fund for Creative Research Groups of China (No. 51421006), the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (No. IRT13061), the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (No. 51225901), the Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41430751), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51579073), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2015B25314), and PAPD.

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Correspondence to Peifang Wang.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Liu, J., Wang, P., Wang, C. et al. Heavy metal pollution status and ecological risks of sediments under the influence of water transfers in Taihu Lake, China. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 2653–2666 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-7909-1

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  • Heavy metals
  • Sediment
  • Water transfer route
  • Grain size trend
  • Ecological risk assessment
  • Wangyu River