Origin and Risk Assessment of Potentially Harmful Elements in River Sediments of Urban, Suburban, and Rural Areas
Xuyin Yuan1,2, Tianyuan Li2, Jizhou Li1,2, Hongmeng Ye2, Minxia Ge2
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1Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resource Development on Shallow Lakes,
Ministry of Education, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210098, PR China
2College of the Environment, Hohai University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210098, PR China
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2013;22(2):599–610
The Changjiang Delta Region is a rapidly urbanizing area in China. But this area still reveals different anthropogenic activities and urbanization levels. River sediments from urban, suburban, and rural areas were studied to characterize potentially harmful elements (PHEs) and their ecological risks. Chemical compositions of sediments were analyzed, which revealed pronounced differences in three areas. Al2O3, Fe2O3, CaO, and MgO were elevated in the urban sediments. Sediments from the rural area showed high organic matter. CaO and TOC of sediments fluctuated significantly in the suburban area. They are associated with the local geological provenance and sediment circumstance. The enrichments of PHEs in sediments of urban rivers were prevalent, among which Cd and As were prominent. Concentrations of PHEs in the suburban area fluctuated significantly. Lead and Cu were obviously enriched in this area. Rural sediments had relatively low concentrations of PHEs, which were also stable in the regional distribution, although As showed a slight enrichment. Based on RI values from Hakanson, the urban sediments showed moderate to considerable ecological risk. And the suburban sediments were in moderate ecological risk, except some high-risk samples. The majority of rural sediments revealed low ecological risk. Of these hazardous elements, Cd, Hg, and Pb contribute the largest proportion of the total ecological risk. It is evident that the urbanization level influences the distributions and contamination grades of PHEs for river sediments of the Changjiang Delta Region.