The distribution and partitioning of trace metals (Pb, Cd, Cu, and Zn) and metalloid (As) in the Beijiang River

  • Rui Li
  • Changyuan Tang
  • Yingjie Cao
  • Tao Jiang
  • Jianyao Chen


The concentrations of Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, and As varied quite differently in the water, suspended particulate matter (SPM), and sediment along the middle reach of the Beijiang River in southern China. The total concentrations of trace metals and As in the water column were significantly affected by the concentration of SPM, while the metals and As in the sediment were mainly influenced by fine particle component, OM and Fe/Mn/Al. The partitioning coefficient of trace metals and As in the water column generally appeared in the following order: Pb > Cd > Cu > Zn > As. Accordingly, approximately 67.9% of Pb migrated with SPM in the river because of its higher particle reactivity, while the SPM-bound Cu, Zn, and As were approximately 43.4, 37.3, and 26.7%, respectively. The fractions of Cd in the dissolved and particulate phases were almost the same. Sediment resuspension and deposition in the Beijiang River were considered as important factors controlling the concentrations of dissolved Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, and As in the bottom of the water column.


Trace metals Partitioning Migration Sediment Beijiang River 



We would like to acknowledge the Administration Office of Feilaixia Water Conservancy Project of Guangdong Province for supporting our sampling campaign. We also would like to thank anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. This project was supported by the Special Foundation Project for water saving and protection in Guangdong Province (2015), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41471020) and Science Research Programs of Guangzhou (No. 201510010300).

Supplementary material

10661_2018_6789_MOESM1_ESM.docx (334 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 334 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rui Li
    • 1
  • Changyuan Tang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yingjie Cao
    • 1
  • Tao Jiang
    • 2
  • Jianyao Chen
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Geography and PlanningSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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