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Ocean Science Journal

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 279–289 | Cite as

Assessment of pollution and ecological risk of heavy metals in the surface sediments of Ulsan Bay, Korea

  • Kongtae Ra
  • Joung-Keun Kim
  • Sang Hee Hong
  • Un Hyuk Yim
  • Won Joon Shim
  • Seung-Yong Lee
  • Young-Ok Kim
  • Jaesoo Lim
  • Eun-Soo Kim
  • Kyung-Tae KimEmail author
Article

Abstract

Heavy metal concentrations in the surface sediments of specially managed Ulsan Bay were investigated to determine metal distribution, pollution status and its ecological risk using pollution indices (enrichment factor and geo-accumulation index), potential ecological risk index and sediment quality guidelines (SQGs). The order of mean concentration (mg/kg) of metals was Zn (361.9) > Cu (95.6) > Pb (90.7) > Cr (64.7) > Ni (32.2) > Co (16.6) > As (15.8) > Cd (0.40) > Hg (0.16) in sediments of Ulsan Bay. Spatial distribution of metals in sediments showed a significantly higher concentration near industrial complexes, indicating that metal pollution is caused by anthropogenic sources. The results of enrichment factor (EF) and geo-accumulation index (Igeo) showed that sediments were significantly accumulated with Cu, Zn, As, Cd, Pb and Hg, indicating moderate to very severe enrichment (pollution) by these metals. Based on the potential ecological risk index, Hg and Cd posed a very high and a considerable potential ecological risk. Cu and As posed a moderate potential ecological risk, while, other metals (Cr, Co, Ni, Zn and Pb) rarely posed any potential ecological risk to the coastal environments. The sediments in Ulsan Bay showed a very high level of ecological risk, dominated by Hg and Cd. Metal concentrations in sediments were 80% for Cu, 96.7% for Zn, 50% for As, 70% for Pb and 50% for Hg above the threshold effects level (TEL), respectively.

Key words

Ulsan Bay heavy metal pollution ecological risk sediment quality guideline (SQGs) 

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Copyright information

© Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI) and the Korean Society of Oceanography (KSO) and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kongtae Ra
    • 1
  • Joung-Keun Kim
    • 1
  • Sang Hee Hong
    • 2
    • 4
  • Un Hyuk Yim
    • 2
    • 4
  • Won Joon Shim
    • 2
    • 4
  • Seung-Yong Lee
    • 1
  • Young-Ok Kim
    • 3
  • Jaesoo Lim
    • 5
  • Eun-Soo Kim
    • 6
  • Kyung-Tae Kim
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Marine Environments and Conservation Research DivisionKIOSTAnsanKorea
  2. 2.Oil & POPs Research Group, South Sea Research InstituteKIOSTGeojeKorea
  3. 3.South Sea Environment Research Division, South Sea Research InstituteKIOSTGeojeKorea
  4. 4.Marine Environmental Chemistry and BiologyUniversity of Science and TechnologyDaejeonKorea
  5. 5.Geologic Environment DivisionKorea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral ResourcesDaejeonKorea
  6. 6.Oceanographic Measurements and Instrument Calibration Service CenterKIOSTAnsanKorea

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