Aquatic environment

Contamination by persistent toxic substances in surface sediment of urban rivers in Chaohu City, China

Feipeng Li , Haiping Zhang , Xiangzhou Meng , Ling Chen , Daqiang Yin


Received January 13, 2012,Revised May 21, 2012, Accepted , Available online November 06, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 1934-1941

The concentration and spatial distribution of persistent toxic substances (PTS) in the river sediment in Chaohu City, China were investigated. A total of nine surface sediments were collected and the selected PTS pollutants including six heavy metals and nineteen polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were analyzed. The mean heavy metal concentrations (in mg/kg, dry weight) ranged within 0.18-1.53 (Hg), 50.08-200.18 (Cu), 118.70-313.65 (Zn), 50.77-310.85 (Cr), 37.12-92.72 (Pb) and 13.29-197.24 (As), and Cu, Zn and As have been regarded as the main metal pollutants. The levels of PBDEs (1.2-12.1 ng/g) and BDE-209 (2.4-30.5 ng/g) were at the middle level of the global range. BDE-209 was the predominant congener (67.0%-85.7%), which agrees with the fact that technical deca-BDE mixtures are the dominant PBDE formulation in China. The relative high level of PTS pollutants in the western part of the city is probably owing to the intensive agricultural activities and lack of sewerage system there. The ecological risk assessment with the sediment quality guidelines (SOGs) indicates that the urban river sediments in the city have been heavily contaminated by heavy metals with probable ecotoxicological impacts on freshwater organisms and the main toxic pollutants are Hg and As. The results of current study imply that the city, and perhaps many other small cities in China as well, requires immediate pollution control measures with emphasis on not only conventional organic pollutants but also on PTS such as heavy metals and PBDEs.

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