Assessment of dam removal from geochemical examination of Kuma River sediment, Kyushu, Japan

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine if Arase dam gate removal and flushing elevated concentrations of any trace elements in Kuma River and Yatsushiro Bay sediments or caused riverine environmental change. The Arase dam gate on the Kuma River was opened in April 2010. Surface and bottom sediments were compared using 10-cm-long cores (2011) and two grain size fractions. Surface sediment data from 2002, 2012, and 2013 from the Kuma River and Yatsushiro Bay were also compared. The sediments were analyzed using XRF for 23 elements, and the grain size analysis was done. The short core surface and bottom sediments do not show major chemical changes, and therefore, may not represent post-and pre-dam sediments. Results based on 2011 samples show that the removal of the Arase dam gates in 2010 has been geoenvironmentally beneficial due to the decrease of environmentally related trace elements Pb and Zn in 2013. However, a slight increase in the levels of Cr, Cu, Zr, and Nb in 2013 indicates that periodic flushing in winter leads to elevation in these elements due to an increase in the fine fraction. Metal enrichment factors (EF) in 2002 are higher and these have decreased by 2013. Some elements exceed environmental guidelines, but this is due to natural background values, and there is no anthropogenic contamination. Thus, the environment of the river and bay has been significantly improved due to the dam opening. This result suggests that assessment and environmental monitoring studies are very important for dam management and future decision making.

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Acknowledgments

We gratefully acknowledge the Japanese government for the financial assistance to carry out our study. We thank Dr. Kazuaki Ohtsuki of Tokyo University of Science for sharing his unpublished data and Dr. B.P. Roser for the comments and suggestions. We like to thank Dr. David Dettman for the constructive editing of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Sansfica M. Young.

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Young, S.M., Ishiga, H. Assessment of dam removal from geochemical examination of Kuma River sediment, Kyushu, Japan. Environ Monit Assess 186, 8267–8289 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-014-4002-4

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Keywords

  • Arase dam
  • Flushing
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Sediment
  • Kuma River
  • Yatsushiro Bay