Distribution of lead, copper and zinc in size-fractionated river bed sediment in two agricultural catchments of southern Ontario, Canada Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Metal (Pb, Cu and Zn) partitioning in six separated sediment size fractions (<8, 8-12, 12-19, 19-31, 31-42, 42-60 microm) of river bed sediment have been analyzed by sequential extraction. The concentrations of some major elements (Si, Al, Ca, Mg, K, Na, Fe, Mn and P), and organic and inorganic C were determined to correlate the elemental composition of the sediment with metal speciation and grain size. Results show that Zn and Pb concentrations increase with decreasing grain size. For Big Creek and Big Otter Creek, respectively, the highest concentrations of Zn (326 and 230 mg kg(-1)) and Pb (158 and 67 mg kg(-1)) were found in the smallest (<8 microm) fraction, whereas the Cu levels (619 and 1281 mg kg(-1)) were most abundant in the second smallest (8-12 microm) fraction. The major accumulative phases for Cu, Zn and Pb were carbonates, Fe/Mn oxides and organic matter, but the relative importance of each phase varied for individual metals and grain sizes. The extraction data show increasing potential bioavailability of metals with decreasing grain size. Estimates of metal yields in the study catchments suggest that over 80% of the metal yield in sediment smaller than 63 microm is associated with solids smaller than 31 microm.

publication date

  • 1996