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Riverine Sediment Metal Concentrations of the Avoca–Avonmore Catchment, South-East Ireland: A Baseline Assessment

Riverine Sediment Metal Concentrations of the Avoca–Avonmore Catchment, South-East Ireland: A... The Avoca–Avonmore catchment contains some of the most polluted stretches of river in Ireland, with acid mine drainage having a profound impact on the lower 15km of river. An inventory of selected heavy metal concentrations in riverine sediments was used to assess the health of the river as well as to identify potential contaminated areas. Results reveal that the abandoned Pb—Zn mines in the upland catchment cause serious sediment contamination (maxima: Zn 50,352µg g -1 ; Pb 18,547µg g -1 ; Cu 426µg g -1 and Cd 147µg g -1 ). Sediment enrichment factors were determined using German Sediment Quality Target Values (maxima: 252 Zn, 250 Pb, 123 Cd and 7.1 Cu µg g -1 ) and catchment background values (maxima: 730 Zn, 1137 Pb and 19 Cu µg g -1 ). The Cu—S mine, which releases acid mine drainage into the lower part of the catchment, has comparatively little effect on downstream sediment metal concentrations except for Fe, which results in extensive ochre deposition. Other anthropogenic sources, such as wastewater treatment plants, are also minor point sources of metals into the river system. The inventory has identified areas requiring restoration and protection within the 27 rivers comprising the catchment. Unlike water samples, where metal concentrations are normally below detection limits, sediment inventories provide a reliable assessment of long-time metal contamination in rivers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Royal Irish Academy

Riverine Sediment Metal Concentrations of the Avoca–Avonmore Catchment, South-East Ireland: A Baseline Assessment

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Publisher
Royal Irish Academy
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 RIA
ISSN
0791-7945
eISSN
2009-003X
DOI
10.3318/BIOE.2005.105.2.95
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Avoca–Avonmore catchment contains some of the most polluted stretches of river in Ireland, with acid mine drainage having a profound impact on the lower 15km of river. An inventory of selected heavy metal concentrations in riverine sediments was used to assess the health of the river as well as to identify potential contaminated areas. Results reveal that the abandoned Pb—Zn mines in the upland catchment cause serious sediment contamination (maxima: Zn 50,352µg g -1 ; Pb 18,547µg g -1 ; Cu 426µg g -1 and Cd 147µg g -1 ). Sediment enrichment factors were determined using German Sediment Quality Target Values (maxima: 252 Zn, 250 Pb, 123 Cd and 7.1 Cu µg g -1 ) and catchment background values (maxima: 730 Zn, 1137 Pb and 19 Cu µg g -1 ). The Cu—S mine, which releases acid mine drainage into the lower part of the catchment, has comparatively little effect on downstream sediment metal concentrations except for Fe, which results in extensive ochre deposition. Other anthropogenic sources, such as wastewater treatment plants, are also minor point sources of metals into the river system. The inventory has identified areas requiring restoration and protection within the 27 rivers comprising the catchment. Unlike water samples, where metal concentrations are normally below detection limits, sediment inventories provide a reliable assessment of long-time metal contamination in rivers.

Journal

Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish AcademyRoyal Irish Academy

Published: May 1, 2005

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