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Trace metal distributions in the sediments of the Little Akaki River, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  • M. L. Akele
  • P. Kelderman
  • C. W. Koning
  • K. Irvine
Article

Abstract

The levels and distribution of trace metals (Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb) at eleven water and sediment stations on the Little Akaki River (LAR) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, were determined. The binding forms of the metals in various geochemical fractions of the sediments were also quantified. The molar ratio of the sum of the simultaneously extractable metals (∑SEM) and acid-volatile sulphide (AVS)—as a measure for predicting metal-induced toxicity—was estimated. LAR trace levels in water for Cu, Zn, and, particularly Mn were, in most instances, higher than the recommended guidelines for healthy aquatic ecosystems. Total trace metal (TTM) contents in the LAR sediments at certain stations exceeded “threshold effect concentrations” and even “probable effect concentrations”, especially in the cases of Zn, Cu, Ni, Pb, and at all stations for Mn. This became more apparent after applying “normalizations” to the relatively lower TTM adsorption capacities of coarse-grained, organic-poor sediments. Sequential extraction of the sediments showed that trace metals generally have a higher affinity for Fe-Mn oxide and organic matter/sulphidic fractions, followed by the residual fraction. Mn was relatively strongly bound to the exchangeable, carbonate bound fractions, whereas a large proportion of Cr was found in the residual fraction. The Σ[SEM]/[AVS] ratio pointed to potential metal-induced toxicity of sediments collected from seven out of the eleven stations. The results indicate that trace metal pollution pose risks to the health of ecosystems, and to human communities that use the river for a range of different purposes.

Keywords

Acid-volatile sulphide Binding forms Ethiopia Sequential extraction Trace metals 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge Don van Galen and Lyzette Robbemont, UNESCO-IHE, for their invaluable laboratory assistance. This research was financially supported by the Netherlands Fellowship Program (NFP).

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. L. Akele
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. Kelderman
    • 1
  • C. W. Koning
    • 3
  • K. Irvine
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Water Science and Engineering, UNESCO-IHEInstitute for Water EducationDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, College of Natural and Computational SciencesUniversity of GondarGondarEthiopia
  3. 3.Ministry of the Environment and ParksCalgaryCanada
  4. 4.Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality ManagementUniversity of WageningenWageningenThe Netherlands

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