Consequences and implication of heavy metal spatial variations in sediments of the Keelung River drainage basin, Taiwan.

Research paper by Kuo-Ming KM Huang, Saulwood S Lin

Indexed on: 27 Sep '03Published on: 27 Sep '03Published in: Chemosphere


A great deal of effort was enforced to reduce the pollution of the Keelung River in the past 20 years. A set of sediments covering most of the Keelung River drainage basin was analyzed for bulk sediment heavy metal concentrations, grain size content and Pb-210 dating in order to understand the spatial variations of sediment heavy metal contents as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of pollution control. The results showed that anthropogenic pollution and grain size are two of the most important factors in controlling spatial variations of metals in the Keelung River sediments. In addition, little reduction of sediment heavy metal concentrations was observed in the Keelung River drainage basin. Large spatial variations of metals and grain size were observed. High concentrations of zinc, copper, lead and cadmium were found in sediments near the main outlets of the adjacent Da-Wu-Lun Industrial Park and municipal waste drainage systems. Anthropogenic sources of heavy metal have altered the natural sediment heavy metal distributions. Positive linear relationships between aluminum, iron and fine-grained sediments showed that spatial grain size variations controlled the natural aluminum and iron concentrations in sediments. Zinc, copper, lead and cadmium contents were much higher than those measured 15 years ago. The unusually high concentrations of heavy metals, high enrichment factors and their rapid increases with time in Pb-210 dated core showed that the efforts in heavy metal reduction were futile. A proper regulation to prevent further heavy metals from entering into the river is urgently needed.