Assessment of metal mobility in dredged harbour sediments from Barcelona, Spain.

Research paper by A A Guevara-Riba, A A Sahuquillo, R R Rubio, G G Rauret

Indexed on: 31 Mar '04Published on: 31 Mar '04Published in: Science of the Total Environment


In order to assess heavy metal mobility in dredged harbour sediments, six superficial sediment samples covering a range of pollution levels and environments were collected in Barcelona Harbour. Samples were characterised in terms of major compounds (Al, Ca, Fe, Mn, Si, Ti, Mg, K and Na); total C, N and S contents; organic matter; and water content. Pseudo-total trace metal contents were assessed after aqua regia digestion (ISO 11466:1995). The modified BCR three-step sequential extraction procedure (BCR-SEP) was applied, and both major compounds (Al, Ca, Fe and Mn) and trace metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) were determined in the different extracts. Both the pseudo-total digestion method and the BCR-SEP were validated using two sediment certified materials from lakes (BCR CRM 701 and BCR CRM 601). The highest metal concentrations were observed in one of the sampling points which receives an urban discharge. The observed mobility order (percentage of metal extracted in the first step) of the six trace metals studied was Cd>Zn>Pb>Cu>Ni>Cr. The good agreement observed with the results obtained as the sum of the four steps (extractable+residue) and the pseudo-total content shows that laboratory working conditions were under control.