Distribution and Potential Mobility of Selected Heavy Metals in a Fluvial Environment Under the Influence of Tanneries
1 Fundação Estadual de Proteção Ambiental Henrique Luiz Roessler, Rua Aurélio Porto, 45 90620-090 Porto Alegre-RS (Brazil)
2 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Bento Gonçalves, 9500, 91509-900 Porto Alegre-RS (Brazil)
In this study we evaluated the occurrence of heavy metals in a fluvial environment under the influence of tanneries – the Cadeia and Feitoria rivers basin (RS, south Brazil), highlighting the distribution and potential mobility of the selected elements. Every three months, over one year-period, selected heavy metals and ancillary parameters were analyzed in water and sediment samples taken at ten sites along the rivers. Water analyses followed APHA recommendations, and sediment analyses were based on methods from USEPA (SW846) and European Community (BCR sequential extraction). The determinations were performed by ICP/OES, except for Hg (CV/ETA). Statistical factor analysis was applied to water and sediment data sets, in order to obtain a synthesis of the environmental diagnosis. The results revealed that water quality decreased along the rivers, and mainly on the dry period (January), showing the influence of tannery plants vicinity and flow variations. Except for Fe, Al, and eventually Mn, heavy metal contents in water were in agreement with Brazilian standards. Concerning sediments, Al, Cu, Fe, Ni, Mn, Ti, and Zn concentrations appeared to reflect the base levels, while Cr and Hg were enriched in the deposits from the lower part of the basin. The partition of heavy metals among the sediment geochemical phases showed higher mobility of Mn along the sampling sites, followed by Cr in the lower reach of the basin, most affected by tanneries. Since Cr was predominantly associated to the oxidizable fraction, its potential mobilization from contaminated sediments would be associated to redox conditions. The detection of Hg in the tissue of a bottom-fish species indicated that the environmental conditions are apparently favoring the remobilization of this metal from contaminated sediments.
Key words: Heavy metals / river water / sediment / sequential extraction / factor analysis / tanneries
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