Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 186, Issue 7, pp 4153–4168 | Cite as

Effect of seasonal variations on the surface sediment heavy metal enrichment of a lake in South India

  • K. Swarnalatha
  • J. Letha
  • S. Ayoob


Environmental effects due to continuous accumulation of hazardous materials like heavy metals in the surface sediments of lake systems can stress fragile ecosystems. Elucidating the mechanisms influencing the concentration and distribution of heavy metals becomes vital in formulating lake management strategies to preserve the quality of the water environment. Studying of the effect of seasonal variations on surface sediments will help in understanding the different factors and sources contributing and diluting these persistent pollutants. In this study, heavy metal pollution in a tropical shallow lake (Akkulam-Veli) in South India was investigated by monitoring the seasonal variations of heavy metals and major elements in surface sediments. The metallic pollutants (Cr, Ni, Co, Cu, Zn, Pb, Fe, and Mn) and major elements (Si, Ti, Al, Ca, Mg, Na, K, and P (measured as oxides) in the surface sediments of this lake were monitored during four consecutive seasons. The results were subjected to correlation analysis and principal component analysis to study the interrelationships of different parameters as well to determine the possible origin of pollutants. Although metal concentrations were found to be unaffected by seasonal variations, the factors contributing to occurrence of these heavy metals were found to be affected by seasonal fluctuations.


Correlation analysis Heavy metal Major elements Principal component analysis Seasonal variations 



Authors thank the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), Thiruvananthapuram, for extending laboratory facilities. The financial assistance from the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology, and Environment (KSCSTE), Government of Kerala, is gratefully acknowledged.


  1. Akpan, E. R., Ekpe, U. J., & Ibok, U. J. (2002). Heavy metal trends in the Calabar River, Nigeria. Environmental Geology, 42, 47–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. APHA. (2005). Standard methods for the examination of water and waste water (21st ed.). Washington: American Public Health Association.Google Scholar
  3. Ashley, P. M., & Napier, M. E. (2005). Heavy-metal loadings related to urban contamination in the Kooloonbung Creek catchment, Port Macquarie, New South Wales. Australian Journal for Earth Sciences, 52, 843–862.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Buchnan, & Kain. (1974). Methods for the study of Marine Benthos. In N. A. Holme & A. D. Mclntyre (Eds.), IBP handbook,16th edition (pp. 30–58). Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publication.Google Scholar
  5. Casas, J. M., Rosas, H., Sole, M., & Lao, C. (2002). Heavy metals and metalloids in sediments from the Llobregat basin, Spain. Environmental Geology, 44, 325–332.Google Scholar
  6. CESS. Centre for Earth Science Studies, Trivandrum. (2009). Preparation of samples for XRF studies,, accessed 12 Jan 2011.
  7. Chapman, H.D. (1965). Cation-exchange capacity. In: C. A. Black (ed.), Methods of soil analysis—chemical and microbiological properties. Agronomy. Vol. 9, pp. 891–901Google Scholar
  8. Corine, V. G., Marloes, L., Jan, J., & Albert, A. K. (2005). Temporal variation of trace metal geochemistry in floodplain lake sediment subject to dynamic hydrological conditions. Environmental Pollution, 137, 281–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dilip, K. D., & Subramonian, V. (1998). Distribution and fractionation of heavy metals in the surface sediments of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river system in the Bengal basin. Environmental Geology, 36, 93–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. El Wakeel, S. K., & Riley, J. P. (1957). The determination of organic carbon in marine sediments. Journal du Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer, 22, 180–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fatma, Ç., Münir, Z., Lugal, G., Osman, B. D., & Özlem, F. (2009). An assessment of metal pollution in surface sediments of Seyhan dam by using enrichment factor, geoaccumulation index and statistical analyses. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 152, 309–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Feng, Z., Huaicheng, G., & Lei, L. (2007). Quantitative identification and source apportionment of anthropogenic heavy metals in marine sediment of Hong Kong. Environmental Geology, 53, 295–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Handong, Y., & Neil, R. (2005). Trace metal pollution records in some UK lake sediments, their history, influence factors and regional differences. Environment International, 31, 63–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harikumar, P. S., & Nasir, U. P. (2010). Ecotoxicological impact assessment of heavy metals in core sediments of a tropical estuary. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 73, 1742–1747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ikem, A., & Adisa, S. (2011). Runoff effect on eutrophic lake water quality and heavy metal distribution in recent littoral sediment. Chemosphere, 82, 259–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kabata-Pendias, A., & Pendias, H. (2001). Trace elements in soil and plants. Boca Raton: CRC.Google Scholar
  17. Koelmans, A. A. (1998). Geochemistry of suspended and settling solids in two freshwater lakes. Hydrobiologia, 364, 15–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Korfali, S. I., & Davies, B. E. (2001). A comparison of metals in sediments and water in the river Nahr-Ibrahim, Lebanon. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 25, 41–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mac Donald, D. D., Ingersoll, C. G., & Berger, T. A. (2000). Development and evaluation of consensus based sediment quality guidelines for fresh water ecosystems. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 39, 20–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Miguel, A., Huerta, D., Francisco, D., Martin, A., Jose, A., Segovia, Z., Zaul, G. E., Hector, L., Zarate, Arturo, S. V., & Salvador, G. B. (2008). Diagnosis of trace metal contamination in sediments: the example of Ensenada and El Sauzal, two harbors in Baja California, Mexico. Marine Environmental Research, 66, 45–358.Google Scholar
  21. Muthuraj, S., & Jayaprakash, M. (2008). Distribution and enrichment of trace metals in marine sediments of Bay of Bengal, off Ennore, south east of India. Environmental Geology, 56, 207–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nelson, B., Yu-Wei, C., John, M., Gunnb, & Sushil, S. D. (2004). Sediment trace metal profiles in lakes of Killarney Park, Canada: from regional to continental influence. Environmental Pollution, 130, 239–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Orkun, I. D., Galip, S., Demet, G. K., Turan, Y., & Cagatayhan, B. E. (2010). Speciation and implications of heavy metal content in surface sediments of Akayatan Lagoon-Turkey. Desalination, 260, 199–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Osan, J., Kurunazi, Torok, S., & Van Grieken, R. (2002). X-ray analysis of river bank sediment of the Tisza (Hungary): identification of particles from a mine pollution event. Spectrochimica Acta Part B, 57, 413–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pradit, S., Wattayakorn, G., Angsupanich, S., Baeyens, W., & Leermakers, M. (2009). Distribution of trace elements in sediments and biota of Songkhla lake, Southern Thailand. Water Air Soil Pollution. doi: 10.1007/s11270-009-0093-x.Google Scholar
  26. Salati, S., & Moore, F. (2010). Assessment of heavy metal concentration in the Khoshk River water and sediment, Shiraz, Southwest Iran. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 164, 677–689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sheela, A. M., Letha, J., & Joseph, S. (2011). Environmental status of a tropical lake system. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 180, 427–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Singh, K. P., Mohan, D., Vinod, K. S., & Malik, A. (2005). Studies on distribution and fractionation of heavy metals in Gomti river sediments—a tributary of the Ganges, India. Journal of Hydrology, 312, 14–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Solecki, J., & Chibowski, S. (2009). Examination of trace amounts of some heavy metals in bottom sediments of selected lakes of South Eastern Poland. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 9, 203–208.Google Scholar
  30. Swarnalatha, K., Letha, J., & Ayoob, S. (2013a). An investigation into the heavy metal burden of Akkulam–Veli Lake in south India. Environmental Earth Sciences, 68(3), 795–806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Swarnalatha, K., Letha, J., Ayoob, S., & Sheela, A. M. (2013b). Identification of silicon as an appropriate normaliser for estimating the heavy metals enrichment of an urban lake system. Journal of Environmental Management, 129, 54–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Turekian, K. K., & Wedopohl, K. H. (1961). Distribution of the elements in some major units of the earth’s crust. Geological Society of America, 72, 175–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. UNEP. (1985). Reference methods for marine pollution studies’, United Nations Environment Program Regional seas, pp. 31–39.Google Scholar
  34. Wedepohl, H. (1995). The composition of the continental crust. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 59, 1217–1239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wenzhong, T., Baoqing, S., Hong, Z., & Zhanpo, M. (2010). Heavy metal sources and associated risk in response to agricultural intensification in the estuarine sediments of Chaohu Lake Valley East China. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 176, 945–951.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yang, X. (2003). World meteorological organization Operational hydrology report no. 47, Manual on sediment management and measurement, WMO No. 948.Google Scholar
  37. Yang, Z., Ying, W., Zhenyao, S., Junfeng, N., & Zhenwu, T. (2009). Distribution and speciation of heavy metals in sediments from the mainstream, tributaries, and lakes of the Yangtze River catchment of Wuhan, China. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 166, 1186–1194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhang, W., Feng, H., Chang, J., Jianuo, Xie, H., & Yu, L. (2009). Heavy metal contamination in surface sediments of Yangtze river intertidal zone: an assessment from different indexes. Environmental Pollution, 157, 1533–1543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Engineering Division, Department of Civil EngineeringCollege of EngineeringTrivandrumIndia
  2. 2.Department of Technical EducationGovt. of KeralaThiruvananthapuramIndia
  3. 3.TKM College of EngineeringKollamIndia

Personalised recommendations