Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 67–78 | Cite as

Sedimentary records of anthropogenic contribution to heavy metal content in Oum Er Bia estuary (Morocco)

  • B. Zourarah
  • M. Maanan
  • M. Robin
  • C. Carruesco
Original Paper


Levels of heavy metals (Cd, Hg, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn), organic carbon content and textural characteristics in the superficial and cored sediments of Oum Er Bia estuary have been studied. The anthropogenic fluxes of heavy metals were determined in two sediment cores collected in the estuary, facing urban sewages. A dated estuarine core from the inter-tidal area was assessed using 210Pb and 137Cs data. These data indicate that the mean sedimentation rates are 0.38–68 cm year−1. The analytical results and the radio-dating of sediment cores show extremely high concentrations of Zn, Pb and Cu in the sediments that can be ascribed mostly to the discharge of the liquid effluent from the sewage since the late 1960s, decreasing towards the present day. The pollution intensity of the estuary is determined by the enrichment factors, which show that the Oum Er Bia estuary is moderately polluted to polluted.


Estuary Sediment Heavy metals Pb isotopes Enrichment factor 



The authors gratefully acknowledge anonymous reviewers for their scientific suggestions and constructive comments. This study is supported by grants from integrated action Moroccan-French “MA/04/101”. We would like to thank J-M Jouanneau (University of Bordeaux, France) for technical assistance on the subject of 210Pb and 137Cs analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Zourarah
    • 1
  • M. Maanan
    • 2
  • M. Robin
    • 2
  • C. Carruesco
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geology, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of Chouaib DoukkaliEl JadidaMorocco
  2. 2.UMR 6554 LETG, GéolittomerUniversity of NantesNantesFrance
  3. 3.Department of Geology and OceanographyBordeaux I UniversityBordeauxFrance

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