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Bed sediment-associated trace metals in an urban stream, Oahu, Hawaii

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Environmental Geology


 Of the 117 stream and lake systems sampled nationwide, fish from Manoa Stream on Oahu, Hawaii, have consistently shown the highest Pb concentrations. Therefore a detailed study was conducted to examine total metal contents in bed sediments from a 5.8-km stretch of Manoa Stream. A total of 123 samples (<63 μm) were examined for 18 elements and 14 samples for 21 elements. Selected samples were also examined using different leach solutions to examine metal phase associations. All trace metal data, computations of enrichment ratios and the modified index of geoaccumulation point to mineralogical control for Cr and Ni; minor anthropogenic contamination for Ba, Cd, Cu, Hg and Zn; and a very strong contamination signal for Pb. Maximum Pb contents (up to 1080 mg kg−1) were associated with anthropogenic material dumping in minor tributaries, storm sewer sediments and sediments in the “lower” section of the basin. Proportionally Pb had the highest non-residual component of elements examined; dominantly in the reducible phase associated with Mn and amorphous Fe oxyhydroxides. The contamination signal was typically lowest in the “undisturbed” headwater reach of the basin (above 5.1 km) with significant increases throughout the “residential” and “commercial-institutional” zones of the mid-basin. The spatial pattern of bed sediment contamination and evidence from storm sewer-outlet sediments strongly indicates that Pb, and to a lesser degree some other metals, is still being transported to the stream and the primary agent is soil erosion and transport of metals sorbed to sediments. The primary source of sediment-associated metals is considered to be the automobile, though other minor sources can not be ruled out.

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Received: 3 November 1998 · Accepted: 26 January 1999

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Sutherland, R. Bed sediment-associated trace metals in an urban stream, Oahu, Hawaii. Environmental Geology 39, 611–627 (2000).

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