Heavy metal enrichment and ecological risk assessment of surface sediments in Khorramabad River, West Iran
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The ecological health of rivers has often been threatened in urbanized catchments due to the expansion of industrial activities and the population growth. Khorramabad River which flows through Khorramabad city, west of Iran, is an example of such settings. The river water is used for agricultural purposes downstream. In this study, the effect of Khorramabad city on heavy metal and metalloid (Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, Cr, and As) loads in Khorramabad River sediments was investigated. To evaluate sediment pollution and potential adverse biological effects, surface sediment samples were collected at selected locations along the river and were characterized for their geochemical properties. Contamination factor (CF), pollution load index (PLI), and ecological risk assessment (RI) were calculated. Also, sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) were used to screen contaminants of concern in the study area. The results showed that sediments were moderately polluted, with stations located in more densely populated areas showing higher pollution indicators. Copper, Zn, and Pb sources could be attributed to urban wastewater, whereas Ni, Cr, and As had both natural and anthropogenic sources. Moreover, ecological risk assessments showed that sediments could be classified in the category of low risk. The results of the present study showed the effect of anthropogenic activities on heavy metal loads of the river sediments and these findings can be used to mitigate potential impacts on the environment and human health.
KeywordsSediment Heavy metal Khorramabad River Iran
The authors are grateful to the office of vice-chancellor for Research and Technology, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz for their assistance.
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