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Spatial Distribution and Ecological Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Sediments of a Heavily Polluted Maozhou River, Southern China

Abstract

In this study, eighteen 3.30-m-long sediment profiles were sampled in Maozhou River. In order to investigate the sediment pollution status and potential sources of heavy metals, we performed heavy metal contents, grain size, organic matter concentration, moisture concentration and total phosphorus analysis, and assessed the ecological risk of heavy metal pollution in the study area using enrichment coefficient, geo-accumulation index and potential ecological risk index. The results indicated that the heavy metal concentrations in the Maozhou River sediments were 3.73–417 times higher than the soil background in Guangdong Province and the average concentrations were 0.447–15.1 times higher than Chinese lacustrine sediments. The Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb contents were significantly correlated with each other (p < 0.01), indicating similar deposition process. In addition, spatial and vertical distribution of heavy metals showed similar variation patterns and extreme high contents are distributed in the interchange area. The ecological risk of Maozhou River was much higher than other river sediments in Guangdong Province, especially for Cu, Cd and Ni. The variation pattern of potential ecological risk index is similar with that of heavy metals and the assessment results indicated high ecological risk in the Maozhou River sediments, which is in good agreement with the EF and Igeo results. This study would provide some references for the treatment of heavy metals’ pollution in Maozhou River.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Project of China (No. 2018YFC1800605), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41671033, 41807125), the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province, China (Nos. ZR2017MD023, ZR2018BD003), the Special Funds of Taishan Scholar of Shandong Province, China.

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Correspondence to Jun Wang.

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Wang, G., Zhang, Y., Wang, J. et al. Spatial Distribution and Ecological Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Sediments of a Heavily Polluted Maozhou River, Southern China. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 106, 844–851 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-021-03202-x

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Keywords

  • Sediment
  • Heavy metals
  • Spatial distribution
  • Ecological risk