Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 178, Issue 1–4, pp 563–579 | Cite as

Speciation of metals in bed sediments and water of Qaraaoun Reservoir, Lebanon

  • Samira Ibrahim Korfali
  • Mey S. Jurdi


Determination of only total element in sediments does not give an accurate estimate of the likely environmental impacts. Speciation study of metals in sediment provides information on the potential availability of metals (toxic) to biota under various environmental conditions. In water, the toxic metal specie is the free hydrated metal ion. The toxicity of metals depends especially on their chemical forms rather than their total metal content. The present study focuses on Qaraaoun Reservoir, Lebanon. Earlier studies focused only on total metal concentrations in sediment and water. The objective of this study was to determine metal speciation (Fe, Cr, Ni, Zn, Cu, Pb, Cd) in the (operationally defined) sediment chemical fractions and metal speciation in reservoir water. This would reflect on metal bioavailability and toxicity. Water samples and bed sediments were collected from nine sites during the dry season and a sequential chemical fraction scheme was applied to the <75-μm sieve sediment fraction. Metal content in each fraction was determined by the FAAS technique. The data showed that the highest percentages of total metal content in sediment fractions were for: Fe in residual followed by reducible, Cr and Ni in residual and in reducible, Cu in organic followed by exchangeable, Zn in residual and in organic, Pb in organic and carbonate, Cd was mainly in carbonate. Total metal content in water was determined by ICP-MS technique and aqueous metal speciation was predicted using AQUACHEM software interfaced to PHREEQC geochemical computer model. The water speciation data predicted that a high percentage of Pb and Ni were present as carbonate complex species and low percentages as free hydrated ions, highest percentage of Zn as carbonate complex species followed by free hydrated ion, highest percentage of Cd as free hydrated ion followed by carbonate complex species. The sensitivity attempt of free hydrated ion of Ni, Zn, Pb, and Cd in reservoir water revealed dependence of Zn and Cd on pH and alkalinity, while Ni and Pb were only dependent on pH.


Metal Speciation Sediment Water Qaraaoun Reservoir Lebanon 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural Science DivisionLebanese American UniversityBeirutLebanon
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health SciencesAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

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