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Detection of Lead (Pb) in Three Environmental Matrices of the Cache River Watershed, Arkansas


Water bodies contaminated with lead (Pb) represent a considerable threat to both human and environmental health. The Cache River, located in northeastern Arkansas has been listed as impaired on the 303(d) list due to Pb contamination. However, historical data for the watershed is limited in both sampled waterways and analyses performed. This study measures concentrations of Pb in three environmental matrices of the Cache River Watershed; dissolved in the water column, total Pb (dissolved + particulate), and sediment-bound Pb. A variety of waterways were sampled including main channel and tributary sites. Frequency of detection and mean concentrations were compared to values for the entire Lower Mississippi Watershed. In general, no significant differences were found for the CRW when compared to the LMRW, with the exception of total Pb which was detected more frequently but at lower concentrations in the CRW than in the LMRW, and sediment Pb, which was detected at a significantly lower frequency in the CRW than the LMRW.

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Funding was provided by Middle Cache 319 Grant through AR Natural Resource Commission, NSF CBET-1040466 MRI Grant, and the Arkansas Audubon Society. Many thanks to the staff and students at the Ecotoxicology Research Facility at Arkansas State University for assistance with this project, specifically Molly Kennon for help with sampling and analysis.

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Correspondence to Mary K. Kilmer.

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Kilmer, M.K., Bouldin, J.L. Detection of Lead (Pb) in Three Environmental Matrices of the Cache River Watershed, Arkansas. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 96, 744–749 (2016).

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  • Pb
  • Environment
  • Water
  • Sediment
  • Cache River Arkansas