Trace metal behaviour in the Conwy estuary, North Wales

Publisher:
Pergamon
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Chemosphere, 2003, 51 (5), pp. 429 - 440
Issue Date:
2003-01
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The distribution of trace metals Zn, Ni, Mn, Fe, Cu, Pb, Cd and Cr between suspended particulate matter (SPM) and water in the Conwy estuary, North Wales, has been studied in three surveys in 1998. Dissolved Cu and Mn showed some monthly variations. Most of the dissolved trace metals displayed a negative association with salinity, indicating rivers as a major source of inputs for them. Particulate Zn, Mn and Fe showed a decreasing concentration seaward, whilst the levels of Ni, Cu, Cr and Pb increased with salinity. SPM concentration was the most important variable significantly related to trace metal concentrations in SPM, with an inverse relationship between the two parameters. This was explained by the relative enrichment of trace metals in fine particles at low SPM concentrations and relative depletion of trace metals in coarse particles at high SPM concentrations. Particulate Zn, Mn and Pb were dominated by the fraction available to acetic acid (non-detrital), whilst particulate Ni, Fe and Cr were dominated by the fraction available to nitric acid (detrital). The partition coefficient of trace metals between SPM and water declined with increasing SPM concentration, consistent with the so-called particle concentration effect. Such a phenomenon may be explained by the presence of fine particles (including colloids) enriched with trace metals at low SPM concentrations, and the salinity-induced desorption.
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