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A Comparison of Metals in Sediments and Water in the River Nahr-Ibrahim, Lebanon: 1996 and 1999

Abstract

Rivers whose basins are underlain by carbonate rocks exhibit high pH, lower desorption of metals and possess high buffering capacity against acidic inputs to the river. The catchment of River Nahr-Ibrahim, Lebanon, is largely underlain by limestone. Compared to neighbouring countries, Lebanon is relatively fortunate since precipitation is high. However, recently a warming in temperature and a drop in precipitation has occurred, thus causing low water levels in rivers. The objective of this study is to investigate the variation of the total metal content (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd) in bed sediments and water of River Nahr-Ibrahim between 1996 and 1999 (two years); and relate these variations to the effect of changes in human activities and/or due to the variations of precipitation rate, temperature and pH of water. Bed load sediments and stream water were collected simultaneously from five sampling sites. Water pH and temperature were determined in situ. Sediment samples were dried at room temperature and sieved; the sediment size <75 μm size was retained. Water was analysed for major constituents and trace metals. Metals were extracted from sediments with aqua regia. Metal concentration in water and sediments were determined using ICP-MS technique. Data revealed a drop in metal concentrations (Zn, Cu, Pb, Cd) in sediments at quarry site after its closure. The decrease in precipitation rate, lowering the level of water and the dilution of industrial discharges and decrease in water pH led most probably to the desorption of metals from sediments into the water.

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Korfali, S.I., Davies, B.E. A Comparison of Metals in Sediments and Water in the River Nahr-Ibrahim, Lebanon: 1996 and 1999. Environmental Geochemistry and Health 25, 41–50 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021284126632

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  • human activities
  • metal content
  • sediment
  • variation
  • water