thumbnail

Trace-element concentrations in streambed sediment across the conterminous United States

Environmental Science and Technology

By:
DOI: 10.1021/es990052s

Links

Abstract

Trace-element concentrations in 541 streambed-sediment samples collected from 20 study areas across the conterminous United States were examined as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program of the U.S. Geological Survey. Sediment samples were sieved and the <63-??m fraction was retained for determination of total concentrations of trace elements. Aluminum, iron, titanium, and organic carbon were weakly or not at all correlated with the nine trace elements examined: arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium, and zinc. Four different methods of accounting for background/baseline concentrations were examined; however, normalization was not required because field sieving removed most of the background differences between samples. The sum of concentrations of trace elements characteristic of urban settings - copper, mercury, lead, and zinc - was well correlated with population density, nationwide. Median concentrations of seven trace elements (all nine examined except arsenic and selenium) were enriched in samples collected from urban settings relative to agricultural or forested settings. Forty-nine percent of the sites sampled in urban settings had concentrations of one or more trace elements that exceeded levels at which adverse biological effects could occur in aquatic biota.Trace-element concentrations in 541 streambed-sediment samples collected from 20 study areas across the conterminous United States were examined as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program of the U.S. Geological Survey. Sediment samples were sieved and the <63-??m fraction was retained for determination of total concentrations of trace elements. Aluminum, iron, titanium, and organic carbon were weakly or not at all correlated with the nine trace elements examined: arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium, and zinc. Four different methods of accounting for background/ baseline concentrations were examined; however, normalization was not required because field sieving removed most of the background differences between samples. The sum of concentrations of trace elements characteristic of urban settings - copper, mercury, lead, and zinc - was well correlated with population density, nationwide. Median concentrations of seven trace elements (all nine examined except arsenic and selenium) were enriched in samples collected from urban settings relative to agricultural or forested settings. Forty-nine percent of the sites sampled in urban settings had concentrations of one or more trace elements that exceeded levels at which adverse biological effects could occur in aquatic biota.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Trace-element concentrations in streambed sediment across the conterminous United States
Series title:
Environmental Science and Technology
DOI:
10.1021/es990052s
Volume
33
Issue:
15
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Publisher:
ACS
Publisher location:
Washington, DC, United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Science and Technology
First page:
2499
Last page:
2504
Number of Pages:
6