Heavy metal contamination of sediments from recreational reservoirs of urban areas and its environmental risk assessment

Gabriela Zemelka, E Szalinska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Water reservoirs play important role in human environment, especially as a part of ecological networks in urban areas. Due to such localization they are subjected to the effects of the anthropogenic activities, introducing broad range of contaminants (e.g. heavy metals) through various pathways. The main aim of this study was to estimate heavy metal (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn) contamination level in sediments of eight reservoirs in the Cracow urban area (Bagry, Nowohucki, Plaszowski, Dabski, Przylasek Rusiecki, Tyniec, Zakrzowek, and Zeslawice Reservoirs), and assess its potential environmental risk with use of various criteria (Igeo - geo-accumulation index, CF - contamination factor, PLI - pollution load index, TEC/PEC - threshold effect concentration/probable effect concentration). Furthermore, the role of reservoir catchment for sediment contamination (agricultural, industrial, and urbanized) was studied. Also, levels of metal contamination were compared with other recreational reservoirs in Poland (Jeziorsko, Barycz Dzierzno Duze, Pogoria III, Rusalka, and Sloneczne Reservoirs). The study revealed considerable variation in the chemical composition of bottom sediments, evidently depended on their localization. Results showed that the sediments of the Cracow area reservoirs and from the other urbanized catchments were moderately contaminated. Reservoirs from industrial catchments had a considerably higher content level, while water bodies localized in agricultural areas displayed low content of heavy metals. According to Igeo and CF sediments of Cracow area reservoirs were mostly Cd contaminated. However, Cd contents were relatively high in urban (Sloneczne) and industrial areas (Dzierzno Duze). The same situation was found in PEC values exceedances. In other cases, investigated heavy metals were mostly between the TEC and PEC values, which indicate moderate contamination of the sediments and moderate impact on biota. Therefore, further research and monitoring of sediments quality should be maintained in future seasons due to the use of water reservoirs throughout the year for recreational purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-145
JournalEngineering and Protection of Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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