Sediments from the Castilseras reservoir, located downstream on the Valdeazogues River in the Almadén mercury district, were collected to assess the potential contamination status related to metals(oids) associated with river sediment inputs from several decommissioned mines. Metals(oids) concentrations in the reservoir sediments were investigated using different physical and chemical techniques. The results were analyzed by principal component analysis (PCA) to explain the correlations between the sets of variables. The degree of contamination was evaluated using the enrichment factor (EF) and the geoaccumulation index (Igeo). PCA revealed that the silty fraction is the main metals(oids) carrier in the sediments. Among the potentially harmful elements, there is a group (Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, and Zn) that cannot be strictly correlated to the mining activity since their concentrations depend on the lithological and edaphological characteristics of the materials. In contrast, As, Co, Hg, Pb, and S showed significant enrichment and contamination, thus suggesting relevant contributions from the decommissioned mines through fluvial sediment inputs. As far as Hg and S are concerned, the high enrichment levels pose a question concerning the potential environmental risk of transfer of the organic forms of Hg (mainly methylmercury) from the bottom sediments to the aquatic food chain.

Heavy metal contamination in sediments of an artificial reservoir impacted by long-term mining activity in the Almadén mercury district (Spain)

COVELLI, STEFANO;
2016

Abstract

Sediments from the Castilseras reservoir, located downstream on the Valdeazogues River in the Almadén mercury district, were collected to assess the potential contamination status related to metals(oids) associated with river sediment inputs from several decommissioned mines. Metals(oids) concentrations in the reservoir sediments were investigated using different physical and chemical techniques. The results were analyzed by principal component analysis (PCA) to explain the correlations between the sets of variables. The degree of contamination was evaluated using the enrichment factor (EF) and the geoaccumulation index (Igeo). PCA revealed that the silty fraction is the main metals(oids) carrier in the sediments. Among the potentially harmful elements, there is a group (Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, and Zn) that cannot be strictly correlated to the mining activity since their concentrations depend on the lithological and edaphological characteristics of the materials. In contrast, As, Co, Hg, Pb, and S showed significant enrichment and contamination, thus suggesting relevant contributions from the decommissioned mines through fluvial sediment inputs. As far as Hg and S are concerned, the high enrichment levels pose a question concerning the potential environmental risk of transfer of the organic forms of Hg (mainly methylmercury) from the bottom sediments to the aquatic food chain.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2847042
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