In-situ observations of internal dissolved heavy metal release in relation to sediment suspension in lake Taihu, China

Tengteng Yang , Tingfeng Wu , Guangwei Zhu , Jianghai Chen


Received February 17, 2020,Revised , Accepted May 03, 2020, Available online June 07, 2020

Volume 32,2020,Pages 120-131

Despite laboratory experiments that have been performed to study internal heavy metal release, our understanding of how heavy metals release in shallow eutrophic lakes remains limited for lacking in-situ evidence. This study used automatic environmental sensors and a water sampling system to conduct high-frequency in-situ observations (1-hr intervals) of water environmental variables and to collect water samples (3-hr intervals), with which to examine the release of internal heavy metals in Lake Taihu, China. Under conditions of disturbance by strong northerly winds, sediment resuspension in both the estuary area and the lake center caused particulate heavy metal resuspension. However, the patterns of concentrations of dissolved heavy metals in these two areas were complex. The concentrations of dissolved Se and Mo increased in both areas, indicating that release of internal dissolved Se and Mo is triggered by sediment resuspension. The concentrations of dissolved Ni, Zn, As, Mn, Cu, V, and Co tended to increase in the estuary area but decrease in the lake center. The different trends between these two areas were controlled by pH and cyanobacteria, which are related to eutrophication. During the strong northerly winds, the decrease in concentrations of dissolved heavy metals in the lake center was attributable primarily to absorption by the increased suspended solids, and to growth-related assimilation or surface adsorption by the increased cyanobacteria. The findings of this study suggest that, short-term changes of environmental conditions are very important in relation to reliable monitoring and risk assessment of heavy metals in shallow eutrophic lakes.

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