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Mobilization Potential of Heavy Metals: A Comparison Between River and Lake Sediments


Toxic metals introduced into aquatic environments by human activities accumulation in sediments. A common notion is that the association of metals with acid volatile sulfides (AVS) affords a mechanism for partitioning metals from water to solid phase, thereby reducing biological availability. However, variation in environmental conditions can mobilize the sediment-bound metal and result in adverse environmental impacts. The AVS levels and the effect of AVS on the fate of Cu, Cd, Zn, Ni in sediments in the the Changjiang River, a suboxic river with sandy bottom sediment and the Donghu Lake, a anoxic lake with muddy sediment in China, were compared through aeration, static adsorption and release experiments in laboratory. Sips isotherm equation, kinetic equation and grade ion exchange theory were used to describe the heavy metal adsorb and release process. The results showed that AVS level in the lake sediment are higher than that of the river. Heavy metals in the overlying water can transfer to sediments incessantly as long as the sediment remains undisturbed. The metal release process is mainly related to AVS oxidation in lake sediment while also related to Org-C and Fe–Mn oxyhydroxide oxidation in river sediment. The effect of sulfides on Zn and Ni is high, followed by Cd, and Cu is easy bound to Org-C. AVS plays a major role in controlling metals activity in lake sediment and its presence increase the adsorption capacity both of the lake and river sediments.

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Correspondence to Liu Jiantong.

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Tao, F., Jiantong, L., Bangding, X. et al. Mobilization Potential of Heavy Metals: A Comparison Between River and Lake Sediments. Water Air Soil Pollut 161, 209–225 (2005).

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  • acid-volatile sulfides
  • heavy metals
  • mobilization
  • overlaying water
  • sediment