Heavy metals in soils and sediments from Dongting Lake in China: occurrence, sources, and spatial distribution by multivariate statistical analysis

Heavy metal contamination in soils/sediments and its impact on human health and ecological environment have aroused wide concerns. In the present study, the authors investigated 30 samples of soils and sediments around Dongting Lake to analyse the concentration of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn in the samples and to distinguish the natural and anthropogenic sources. Also, the relationship between heavy metals and the physicochemical properties of samples was studied by multivariate statistical analysis. Concentration of Cd at most sampling sites were more than five times that of national environmental quality standard for soil in China (GB 15618-1995), and Pb and Zn levels exceeded one to two times. Moreover, Cr in the soil was higher than the national environmental quality standards for one to two times while in sediment was lower than the national standard. The investigation revealed that the accumulations of As, Cd, Mn, and Pb in the soils, and sediments were affected apparently by anthropogenic activities; however, Cr, Fe, and Ni levels were impacted by parent materials. Human activities around Dongting Lake mainly consisted of industrial activities, mining and smelting, sewage discharges, fossil fuel combustion, and agricultural chemicals. The spatial distribution of heavy metal in soil followed the rule of geographical gradient, whereas in sediments, it was significantly affected by the river basins and human activities. The result of principal component analysis (PCA) demonstrated that heavy metals in soils were associated with pH and total phosphorus (TP), while in sediments, As, Cr, Fe, and Ni were closely associated with cation exchange capacity (CEC) and pH, where Pb, Zn, and Cd were associated with total nitrogen (TN), TP, total carbon (TC), moisture content (MC), soil organic matter (SOM), and ignition lost (IL). The authors concluded that the findings from the present research provides comprehensive approaches to better understand the potential sources and the fate of contaminants in lakeshore soils and sediments.

Authors: Zhang Y, Tian Y, Shen M, Zeng G. ; Full Source: Environmental Science & Pollution Research International. 2018 Mar 3. doi: 10.1007/s11356-018-1590-5. [Epub ahead of print]

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