Bulk metal concentrations versus total suspended solids in rivers: Time-invariant & catchment-specific relationships.

PLoS ONE. 2018;13(1):e0191314 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0191314


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Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

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Touraj Nasrabadi
Hermann Ruegner
Marc Schwientek
Jeremy Bennett
Shahin Fazel Valipour
Peter Grathwohl


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Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Suspended particles in rivers can act as carriers of potentially bioavailable metal species and are thus an emerging area of interest in river system monitoring. The delineation of bulk metals concentrations in river water into dissolved and particulate components is also important for risk assessment. Linear relationships between bulk metal concentrations in water (CW,tot) and total suspended solids (TSS) in water can be used to easily evaluate dissolved (CW, intercept) and particle-bound metal fluxes (CSUS, slope) in streams (CW,tot = CW + CSUS TSS). In this study, we apply this principle to catchments in Iran (Haraz) and Germany (Ammer, Goldersbach, and Steinlach) that show differences in geology, geochemistry, land use and hydrological characteristics. For each catchment, particle-bound and dissolved concentrations for a suite of metals in water were calculated based on linear regressions of total suspended solids and total metal concentrations. Results were replicable across sampling campaigns in different years and seasons (between 2013 and 2016) and could be reproduced in a laboratory sedimentation experiment. CSUS values generally showed little variability in different catchments and agree well with soil background values for some metals (e.g. lead and nickel) while other metals (e.g. copper) indicate anthropogenic influences. CW was elevated in the Haraz (Iran) catchment, indicating higher bioavailability and potential human and ecological health concerns (where higher values of CSUS/CW are considered as a risk indicator).