Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 16, Issue 11, pp 2640–2650 | Cite as

Assessment of loose and adhered urban street sediments and trace metals: a study in the city of Poços de Caldas, Brazil

  • Alexandre Silveira
  • José A. Pereira Jr.
  • Cristiano Poleto
  • João L. M. P. de Lima
  • Flávio A. Gonçalves
  • Livia A. Alvarenga
  • Jorge M. P. G. Isidoro
Urban Soils and Sediments



This study aims to quantify and characterise sediments accumulated in the street gutters in an urban area of Poços de Caldas, Brazil. The main research questions are: What type of urban areas, e.g. those under construction, produce most sediments and what are the main characteristics of such sediments? What differences, e.g. granulometry, can be found in loose and adhered sediments? What trace metals can be found in the sediments?

Materials and methods

Fieldwork was carried out in a residential area of Poços de Caldas, Brazil. Ten samplings were conducted between May and August 2013 to collect sediments from road gutters. The collected sediments were then divided into ‘loose’ and ‘adhered’, depending on whether they were collected in a first, gentle, sweeping with soft bristled brush or in a subsequent sweeping with a stiff bristled brush. Granulometric curves were drawn for both types of sediments. Fine sediment analyses (≤63 μm) were performed on samples from the last five samplings. Two techniques were used to look for trace elements: energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES).

Results and discussion

Larger amounts of sediments were collected after lower intensity rainfall events. Higher intensity events seemed to wash the sediments away. A correlation was found between areas under construction and sediment mass production. A characteristic range of granulometries (medium sand), found in our study is in accordance with studies by other authors. An important presence of heavy metals (Cr, Cd, Pb, Zn, Ni and Cu) was detected and characterised. As and Sn were also detected even though they are not often mentioned in the literature on urban soil pollutants.


Areas under construction were found to produce more sediments than other areas. The trace metals found in highest concentrations were Pb and As. The heavy metal concentration decreases after wet periods, showing that they are carried by runoff. It is expected that this study may serve as an input for establishing diffuse pollution control and mitigation strategies for the accumulation of pollutants in the urban environment.


Diffuse pollution Heavy metals Land use changes Sediment production Trace elements Urbanisation 



The present study had the support of Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior-Brasil (CAPES) under the program ‘Ciência sem Fronteiras (CSF)’, project n.88881.030412/2013-01.


  1. Antunes FZ (1986) Caracterização climática do Estado de Minas Gerais. Informe Agropecuário 12:9–13 (in Portuguese)Google Scholar
  2. Badin AL, Faure P, Bedell JP, Delolme C (2008) Distribution of organic pollutants and natural organic matter in urban storm water sediments as a function of grain size. Sci Total Environ 403:178–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Butler D, Clark P (1995) Sediment management in urban drainage catchments. CIRIA Report 134, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Charlesworth S, Everett M, McCarthy R, Ordonez A, De Miguel E (2003) A comparative study of heavy metal concentration and distribution in deposited street dusts in a large and a small urban area: Birmingham and Coventry, West Midlands, UK. Environ Int 29:563–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chary NS, Kamala CT, Raj DSS (2008) Assessing risk of heavy metals from consuming food grown on sewage irrigated soils and food chain transfer. Ecotox Environ Safe; 69Google Scholar
  6. CONAMA (2013) Resolução n.° 460. Legal document, Diário Oficial da União, Brasilia (in Portuguese)Google Scholar
  7. de La Cueva AV, Marchant BP, Quintana JR, De Santiago A, Lafuente AL, Webster R (2014) Spatial variation of trace elements in the peri-urban soil of Madrid. J Soils Sediments 14:78–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. de Lima JLMP, Souza CCS, Singh VP (2008) Granulometric characterization of sediments transported by surface runoff generated by moving storms. Nonlinear Proc Geoph 15:999–1011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. de Lima JLMP, Dinis PA, Souza CS, de Lima MIP, Cunha PP, Azevedo JM, Singh VP, Abreu JM (2011) Patterns of grain-size temporal variation of sediment transported by overland flow associated with moving storms: interpreting soil flume experiments. Nat Hazard Earth Sys 11:2605–2615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deng ZQ, de Lima JLMP, Jung HS (2008) Sediment transport rate-based model for rainfall-induced soil erosion. Catena 76:54–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dotto CBS (2006) Avaliação e Balanço de Sedimentos em Superfícies Asfálticas em Área Urbana de Santa Maria. Dissertação de mestrado, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brazil, p 126 (in Portuguese)Google Scholar
  12. Fletcher TD, Andrieu H, Hamel P (2013) Understanding, management and modelling of urban hydrology and its consequences for receiving waters: a state of the art. Adv Water Resour 51:261–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gastaldini MCC, Silva ARV (2012) Estudo da distribuição de poluentes em superfícies urbanas. Rev Bras Recur Hidr 17:97–107 (in Portuguese)Google Scholar
  14. Lesven L, Lourino-Cabana B, Billon G, Recourt P, Ouddane B, Mikkelsen O, Boughriet A (2010) On metal diagenesis in contaminated sediments of the Deûle river (northern France). Appl Geochem 25:1361–1373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Madlener R, Sunak Y (2011) Impacts of urbanization on urban structures and energy demand: what can we learn for urban energy planning and urbanization management? Sustainable Cities and Society 1:45–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Maidment DR (1993) Handbook of hydrology. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Martinez LLG, Poleto C (2014) Assessment of diffuse pollution associated with metals in urban sediments using the geoaccumulation index (Igeo). J Soils Sediments 31:102–127Google Scholar
  18. Martínez-Zarzoso I, Maruotti A (2011) The impact of urbanization on CO2 emissions: evidence from developing countries. Ecol Econ 70:1344–1353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Moraes FT (2008) Zoneamento geoambiental do planalto de Poços de Caldas, MG/SP a partir de análise fisiográfica e pedoestratigráfica. São Paulo State University, Dissertation (in Portuguese)Google Scholar
  20. Poleto C, Bortoluzzi EC, Charlesworth SM, Merten GH (2009) Urban sediment particle size and pollutants in Southern Brazil. J Soils Sediments 9:317–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Robertson DJ, Taylor KG, Hoon SR (2003) Geochemical and mineral magnetic characterisation of urban sediment particulates, Manchester, UK. Appl Geochem 18:269–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sakai H, Kojima Y, Saito K (1986) Distribution of heavy metals in water and sieved sediments in the Toyohira river. Water Res 20:559–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Santos AAM et al (2008) Sistema de prevenção de cheias do município de Poços de Caldas: Plano Diretor de Drenagem Urbana: Proposta. Itajubá. Cerne, pp 237 (in Portuguese)Google Scholar
  24. Satterthwaite D, McGranahan G, Tacoli C (2010) Urbanization and its implications for food and farming. Philos T Roy Soc B 365:2809–2820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schorscher HD, Shea ME (1992) The regional geology of the Poços de Caldas alkaline complex: mineralogy and geochemistry of selected nepheline syenites and phonolites. J Geochem Explor 45:25–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Taylor KG (2007) Urban environments. In: Perry C, Taylor KG (eds.) Environmental sedimentology. Blackwell; pp 190-222Google Scholar
  27. Taylor KG, Robertson D (2009) Electron microbeam analysis of urban road-deposited sediment, Manchester, UK: improved source discrimination and metal speciation assessment. Appl Geochem 24:1261–1269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tukey JW (1977) Exploratory data analysis. Addison-Wesley, BostonGoogle Scholar
  29. Vaze J, Chiew FHS (2002) Experimental study of pollutant accumulation on an urban road surface. Urban Water 4:379–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Viklander M (1998) Particle size distribution and metal content in street sediments. Environ Eng 124:761–766CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wang X, Dong Z, Yan P, Yang Z, Hu Z (2005) Surface sample collection and dust source analysis in northwestern China. Catena 59:35–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wang G, Oldfield F, Xia D, Chen F, Liu X, Zhang W (2012) Magnetic properties and correlation with heavy metals in urban street dust: a case study from the city of Lanzhou, China. Atmos Environ 46:289–298Google Scholar
  33. Wong CSC, Xiangdong L, Iain T (2006) Urban environmental geochemistry of trace metals: a review. Environ Pollut 142:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Xiao R, Zhang M, Yao X, Ma Z, Yu F, Bai J (2016) Heavy metal distribution in different soil aggregate size classes from restored brackish marsh, oil exploitation zone, and tidal mud flat of the Yellow River Delta. J Soils Sediments 16:821–830CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Zafra CA, Temprano J, Tejero I (2008) Particle size distribution of accumulated sediments on an urban road in rainy weather. Environ Technol 29:571–582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zafra CAM, González JT, Monzón JIT (2009) Evaluación de la contaminación por escorrentía urbana: sedimentos depositados sobre la superficie de una vía. Ingeniería e Investigación 29:101–108 (in Spanish)Google Scholar
  37. Zaine JE, Scalvi HA, Tinós TM (2008) Estudo de caracterização geológico-geotécnica aplicado ao planejamento rural e urbano do município de Poços de Caldas, MG., Technical report, São Paulo State University (in Portuguese)Google Scholar
  38. Zhang C, Qiao Q, Appel E, Huang B (2012) Discriminating sources of anthropogenic heavy metals in urban street dusts using magnetic and chemical methods. J Geochem Explor 119:60–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandre Silveira
    • 1
    • 5
  • José A. Pereira Jr.
    • 2
  • Cristiano Poleto
    • 3
  • João L. M. P. de Lima
    • 4
    • 5
  • Flávio A. Gonçalves
    • 1
  • Livia A. Alvarenga
    • 1
  • Jorge M. P. G. Isidoro
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute of Science and TechnologyFederal University of AlfenasPoços de CaldasBrazil
  2. 2.Graduate Program in Science and Environmental EngineeringFederal University of AlfenasPoços de CaldasBrazil
  3. 3.Institute of Hydraulic ResearchFederal University of Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of Coimbra, Rua Luís Reis Santos - Pólo IICoimbraPortugal
  5. 5.Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE)CoimbraPortugal
  6. 6.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of Algarve, Campus da PenhaFaroPortugal

Personalised recommendations