Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 2794–2805 | Cite as

Enrichment assessment of Sb and trace metals in sediments with significant variability of background concentration in detailed scale

  • Lingchen Mao
  • Hua Ye
  • Feipeng LiEmail author
  • Meng Yang
  • Hong Tao
  • Haifeng Wen
Research Article


Variability of background concentration of toxic trace metal(loid)s in sediments can often lead to under/over-report of contamination level, even in detailed scale. In this study, both surface (5–10 cm) and subsurface (> 10 cm) sediments were collected at many sites in a small lake (0.528 km2) with multi-function (irrigation, aquaculture, and watercourse) in an industrial area. Total concentration of trace metal(loid)s (Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Ni, Sb, Pb, and Zn) and potential reference elements (Ti, Zr, Rb, and Li) were analyzed. The results showed that although the trace metal(loid)s were mainly lithogenic in subsurface sediments, the variability of baseline concentration was significant. For Sb, this variability was a result of alteration in hydrological parameters as well as sediment properties including Fe/Mn oxide contents, particle size distribution, and organic matter contents. Comparison of the normalized Sb concentration in samples from two sediment cores indicated that Ti is the best reference element for normalizing Sb to reduce the impact from particle size and natural source. Enrichment assessment using modified EFs (Ti as reference element) and Igeo index (measured baseline concentration) suggested that about 70% of the surface sediments were at least moderately polluted by Sb in the lake, as a result of recent anthropogenic input, mainly from nearby industries, e.g., concrete factory and textile factory. Modified EFs should be used, instead of Igeo index, when Sb enrichment was relatively low in sediment. The anomalies of Sb background concentration may need regulator attention when assessing the level of sediment contamination.


Antimony Detailed scale Enrichment factors Geoaccumulation index Baseline concentration 



The authors want to thank Mr. Jiliang Sun from Shanghai Tongji Environmental Engineering Co. Ltd. for his effort in sediment sampling.


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41601229 and 51679140) and the Key Laboratory of Yangtze River Water Environment, Ministry of Education of China (YRWEF201603).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3836_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.3 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2330 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lingchen Mao
    • 1
  • Hua Ye
    • 1
  • Feipeng Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Meng Yang
    • 1
  • Hong Tao
    • 1
  • Haifeng Wen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environment and ArchitectureUniversity of Shanghai for Science and TechnologyShanghaiChina

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