, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 589–600 | Cite as

Potential ecological risk of heavy metals and metalloid in the sediments of Wuyuer River basin, Heilongjiang Province, China

  • Jia Cui
  • Shuying Zang
  • Danlei Zhai
  • Bin Wu


The spatial distribution, sources, and potential ecological risk of heavy metals and metalloid were evaluated in sediments of the Wuyuer River and its tributaries. Metal and metalloid concentrations and chemical speciation (Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Cd, As, Zn and Hg) in 187 surface sediment samples were measured using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Metals and metalloid in the sediments of the Wuyuer River were greater than the background values of the Songnen Plain, and mean heavy metal concentrations were greater in downstream segments of the river than in upstream segments. Speciation results indicated that Cd was chemically mobile and Cu, Pb, Zn, Cr, and Ni were potentially bioavailable. Mercury and As existed mainly in the residual fraction. Hakanson’s potential risk index indicated that the total potential ecological risk of these elements was moderate in the Wuyuer River. Among the selected metals and metalloid, Hg and Cd were the most potentially toxic and mainly distributed near the cities of Keshan, Yi’an and Fuyü. Because the speciation of Cd in the river sediments is highly bioavailable, the concentrations of Cd should be closely monitored. This research provides managers with information needed to better regulate the environment of the Wuyuer River.


Heavy metals Sediments Potential ecological risk assessment GIS Wuyuer River 



This research was financially supported by the key Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province of China (No. ZD201308), the key National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41030743), and the Science and Technology Innovative Programs Foundation of Higher Education of Heilongjiang Province of China (No. 2010td10).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Monitoring of Geographic Environment, College of Heilongjiang ProvinceHarbin Normal UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China

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