Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 304–316 | Cite as

Road-deposited sediment, soil and precipitation (RDS) in Bratislava, Slovakia: compositional and spatial assessment of contamination

  • Katrina Krčmová
  • Davina Robertson
  • Veronika Cvečková
  • Stanislav Rapant


Background, aim and scope

The urban environment in Bratislava is, in association with rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, significantly influenced by several potential sources of pollution, including automobile exhaust and industry emmissions. Urban road-deposited sediments contain many potentially toxic elements such as Pb, Cr, Cu, Zn and also Fe at concentrations much higher than in soil. In this study, the chemical composition and spatial variability of road-deposited sediments in urban area of Bratislava were assessed for the elements As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Fe and Mn. Additional evaluation of archive data for soil, snow and atmospheric dust was undertaken to provide an integrated view on urban environment contamination.

Materials and methods

Urban road-deposited sediments (RDS) were collected during summer 2003 and 2004 mainly from major city crossroads. RDS samples were analysed for total metal content, pseudo-total metal content (HNO3 digestion) and by a sequential extraction method, grain fraction composition and mineralogical composition (X-ray analysis). Metal concentrations in soil and snow samples from urban and non urban city area were compared.

Results and discussion

The highest concentrations for all metals were found in the finest RDS fraction (<0.125 mm). Whilst in the fraction <1 mm mean concentrations of Cr, Cu and Pb reached 55.2, 143.8 and 34.4 mg kg−1, respectively, for the fraction <0.125 mm, markedly higher contents of these elements were documented at the level of 86.8, 218.4 and 63.1 mg kg−1, respectively. The soil contents of potentially toxic risk elements in the urban area including As, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn were higher than in the non-urban area (except for Cd with similar contents). This distribution pattern of evaluated chemicals in urban and non-urban area is more evident in the case of winter precipitation (snow). The snow concentrations of As, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Pb and Zn in the urban area were two tot five times higher than in non-urban area.

Conclusions and recommendations

Monitoring of road-deposited sediments, dust, soil and precipitation has confirmed the significant contamination of the urban environment in Bratislava with potentially toxic elements that can pose a threat for the health of its residents. Future works should be based on analyses of temporal variability of RDS and analyses of organic matter content.


Bratislava Geochemistry Precipitation Road sediment Soil Urban environment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katrina Krčmová
    • 1
  • Davina Robertson
    • 2
  • Veronika Cvečková
    • 1
  • Stanislav Rapant
    • 1
  1. 1.Geological Survey of the Slovak RepublicBratislavaSlovak Republic
  2. 2.Department of Environmental and Geographical SciencesManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK

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