Metal Pollution Assessment from Sediment Analysis

  • Ulrich Förstner
  • Gottfried T. W. Wittmann


The tracing of pollution sources by means of water analysis frequently gives rise to difficulties which may usually be ascribed to sampling procedure and the physical-chemical condition pertaining to the investigated species rather than to the accuracy and precision of analytic techniques. Determination of heavy metal concentrations in surface water samples collected from rivers at short intervals reveals fluctuations of several orders of magnitude. These may be partially explained by variations resulting from water discharge and the predominance of certain source areas leading to irregular effluent emissions. This phenomenon has been discussed in Chap. C. Exchange processes between interstitial and surface water effect fluctuations along the river course. These processes are influenced by pH and Eh conditions, the type and quantity of complexing agents, their biologic activity and by salinity and temperature. Therefore, in addition to having limited experimental data available, the extremely complex system of influencing factors generally makes it impossible to arrive at any definite conclusion regarding the source of pollution.


Heavy Metal Sewage Sludge Metal Pollution Mercury Concentration River Sediment 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Förstner
    • 1
  • Gottfried T. W. Wittmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für SedimentforschungUniversität HeidelbergHeidelberg 1Germany
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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