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The assessment of metal contamination in water and sediments of the lowland Ilova River (Croatia) impacted by anthropogenic activities

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to assess physico-chemical water parameters, granulometric sediment characteristics and concentrations of trace and macroelements in the water and sediments of the Ilova River. Samplings were conducted at three sampling sites (near villages Maslenjača, Ilova and Trebež) along the Ilova River, differing in the source and intensity of the anthropogenic influence. This study indicated disturbed environmental conditions, most pronounced in the downstream part of the river (Trebež village) impacted by the activity of fertilizer factory. Water from the Ilova and Maslenjača villages was of good quality, whereas COD, nitrates and phosphates exceeded the good quality levels in Trebež village. Trace and macroelement concentrations in water were mostly below thresholds set by environmental quality standards at all locations, but levels of Al, As, Cd and Ni were few times higher in Trebež village than at other locations. Metal contamination assessment of sediments (trace and macroelement concentrations, contamination and enrichment factor, pollution load index) confirmed deteriorated environmental quality in Trebež village. However, the overall assessment performed in this study revealed that anthropogenic impact was still not particularly strong in the Ilova River ecosystem. Nevertheless, the observed water and sediment characteristics serve as a warning and suggest that stricter protection measures should be initiated, including continuous monitoring and comprehensive quality assessment of the downstream part of the Ilova River, especially because it is a part of the protected area of the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the help in the field work to the members of the Laboratory for Aquaculture and Pathology of Aquatic Organisms from the Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI) and to Dr. Nevenka Mikac from the Laboratory for inorganic environmental geochemistry and chemodynamics of nanoparticles at RBI for the opportunity to use HR ICP-MS.

Funding

The financial support by the Croatian Science Foundation, within the project “Accumulation, subcellular mapping and effects of trace metals in aquatic organisms” AQUAMAPMET (IP-2014-09-4255) is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Tatjana Mijošek.

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Mijošek, T., Filipović Marijić, V., Dragun, Z. et al. The assessment of metal contamination in water and sediments of the lowland Ilova River (Croatia) impacted by anthropogenic activities. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 25374–25389 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-08926-7

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Keywords

  • Environmental quality of water and sediment
  • Trace elements
  • Macroelements
  • Metal exposure
  • Monitoring
  • Wastewaters
  • Ilova River