Assessment of contamination and mobility potential of potentially toxic elements in the Zayanderud sediments, Isfahan metropolis

Document Type : Research Paper


گروه زمین شناسی دانشگاه شهید باهنر کرمان


Sediment environment has a special importance in the ecosystem, because it acts as a sink for the potentially toxic elements in the water/sediment environment and also in a special conditions can be a major source for the contaminant elements. The aim of this study is to assess the concentration and contamination potential of potentially toxic elements in the Zayaderoud sediments with a special emphasis on the role of the Isfahan metropolis. For this purpose, 23 sediment samples were collected from the Zayanderud River within the boundary of the Isfahan city. After preparation process, the total concentration of target elements was measured by ICP-OES method. Also, single extraction methods were applied to the samples using 0.43M acid acetic and 0.05M EDTA leaching solutions. Evaluation of the total concentration results using environmental pollution indices showed that the concentrations of Ag, As, Cu, Pb, Zn, and S were higher than the natural background values suggesting an anthropogenic source. The contamination potential was increased from upstream to the downstream, especially after treatment plant located south of the Isfahan. According to the PCA multivariate statistical method, elements with the same sources fall into the same groups, so that the elements with the anthropogenic source showed the same group with high correlation. Determination of the soluble fraction using single extraction methods showed that 50 percent of statistical population of Cu and S has mobility factor higher than 30 percent corresponded with the high risk potential. Also, 50 percent of statistical population of Pb, Mn, and Zn showed mobility factor between 10 to 30 corresponded with the medium risk of these elements.


Calmano, W., J. Hong, Forstner, U., 1993. Binding and mobilization of heavy metals in contaminated sediments affected by pH and redox potential. Water Sci Technol 28:223–235.
Councell, T.B., Duckenfield, K.U., Landa, E.R., Callender, E., 2004. Tire-wear particles as a source of Zn to the environment. Environmental Science and Technology, 38:4206-4214.
Isfahan Environmental Protection Agency, 2000. Comprehensive plan to reduce the pollution of the Isfahan water resources. Detailed Report, 25pp (in Persian).
Isfahan Water and Sewage, 2013. Available on
Förstner, U., Ahlf, W., Calmano, W., Kersten, M., 1990. Sediment criteria development – Contributions from environmental geochemistry to water quality management. In Heling, D., Rothe, P., Förstner, U., and Stoffers, P., (Eds.), Sediments and environmental geochemistry: Selected aspects and case studies (pp. 311–338). Berlin Heidelberg:Springer.
Jian- feng, p., Yong-hui, S., Peng, Y., Xiao-yu, C., Guang-lei, Q., 2008. The remediation of heavy metals contaminated sediment. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 161: 633-640.
Kelly, J., Thornton, I., Simpson, P.R., 1996. Urban geochemistry: a study of the influence of anthropogenic activity on the heavy metal content of soils in traditionally industrial and non-industrial areas of Britain. Applied Geochemistry, 11: 363-370.
Loska K., Wiechula, D., 2003. Application of principal component analysis for the estimation of source heavy metal contamination in surface sediments from Rybnik Reservoir. Chemosphere, 51:723–733.
Modabberi, S., Moussavi Harami, R., Alizadeh, A., Mahbobi., A., 2008. The study of potentially toxic elements in the Zayanderud River. The 12th conference of the Geological Society of Iran, National Iranian South Oil Company, Ahvaz, Iran (In Persian).
 Moore, F., Rastegarimehr, M., Keshavarzi, B., 2011. Investigation the concentration of Cd, Cr, Ni and Pb in the Zayanderud River (50 Km radius from the center of Isfahan city). The 15th conference of the Geological Society of Iran, Tarbiat Moallem Uuniversity of Tehran, Iran (in Persian).
Muller, G., 1969. Index of Geoaccumulation in sediments of the Rhine River. Geo J 2:108–118.
Nadal, N., Schuhmacher, M., Domingo, J.L., 2004. Metal pollution of soils and vegetation in an area with petrochemical industry. The Science of the Total Environment, 321: 59-69.
Perin, G., Craboledda, L., Lucchese, M., Cirillo, R., Dotta, L., Zanette, M.L., Orio, A.A., 1985. Heavy metal speciation in the sediments Northern Adriatic Sea, a new approach for environmental toxicity determination. Heavy Met. Environ, 2:454–456.
Rauret, G., and López-Sánchez, J.F., 2001. New sediment and soil CRMs for extractable trace metal content. Int. J. Environ. Anal. Chem. 79: 81-95.
Salomons, W., Stigliani, W., 1995. Biogeodynamics of pollutants in soils and sediments. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, p. 352.
Shirini, R., Ahmadiniyar, A., Torabi, G., 1999. Environmental study of Zayanderud and its contamination sources. The third conference of the Geological Society of Iran, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran, (in Persian). Available on:
Tabatabaie, J., Zahabsanie, A., 2010. Assessment the concentration of heavy metals and their variations in the Zayanderud River. National Water Conference with clean water approach, Power and Water University of Technology, Tehran, Iran (in Persian).
Taylor, S.R., 1964. Abundance of chemical elements in the continental crust, Geochimicuet Cosmochimicn Acta, 28: 1273-1285.
Tossavainen, M., Forssberg, E., 1999. The potential leachability from natural road construction materials. The Science of the Total Environment, 239,31-47.
Violante, A., Huang, P.A., Gadd, G.M., 2007. Biophysico-chemical processes of heavy metals and metalloids in soil environment. Edt, Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey, 681pp.
Weisz, M., Polya, K., Hlavay, J., 2000. Fractionation of elements in sediment samples collected in rivers and harbors at Lake Balaton and its catchment area. Microchem J, 67: 207– 17.
Weisz, M., Polya,´k. K., Hlavay, J., 2000, Fractionation of elements in sediment samples collected in rivers and harbors at Lake Balaton and its catchment area. Microchem J, Vol. 67, pp: 207– 17.
Zhao, Y., Marriott, S., Rogers, J., Lwugo, K., 1999. A preliminary study of heavy metal distribution on the floodplain of the River Severn, UK by a single flood event. The Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 244, pp: 219-231.