Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 3, pp 2843–2853 | Cite as

Use of Sediment Quality Guidelines and pollution indicators for the assessment of heavy metal and PAH contamination in Greek surficial sea and lake sediments

  • John Hahladakis
  • Eleftheria Smaragdaki
  • Georgia Vasilaki
  • Evangelos Gidarakos


Eight different surface sediment samples (K1–K8) were collected from two separate areas of Lake Koumoundourou and two samples (E1 and E2) from one area of Elefsis Bay, Athens, Greece. The level of pollution attributed to heavy metals was evaluated using several pollution indicators. Degree of Contamination, Modified Contamination Degree and Geoaccumulation Indexes were applied in order to determine and assess the anthropogenic contribution of the selected six elements (Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, As and Pb). Moreover, the adverse effects of the sediments to aquatic organisms, from both heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), were determined by using Sediment Quality Guidelines. The results indicated that Lake Koumoundourou is contaminated with heavy metals in a moderate degree and almost 50 % of the sediments are associated with frequent observation of adverse effects, when it comes to Ni and occasional observation of adverse effects, when it comes to Cu, Zn and Pb. As far as PAHs are concerned, around 60 % of the samples can be occasionally associated to toxic biological effects according to the effect-range classification for phenanthrene, benzo(a)anthracene, chrysene and pyrene. Finally, samples taken from the north side of the lake are more contaminated with PAHs than the ones taken from the east side probably due to the existence of the water barrier which acts as a reservoir of PAHs.


Sediments Heavy metals PAHs SQGs Pollution indicators 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental EngineeringTechnical University of Crete, PolitechnioupolisChaniaGreece

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