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Heavy Metals in Sediment from the Urban and Rural Rivers in Harbin City, Northeast China

International Joint Research Center for Persistent Toxic Substances (IJRC-PTS), School of Water Conservancy and Civil Engineering, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030, China
State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
IJRC-PTS, State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4313;
Received: 12 October 2019 / Revised: 31 October 2019 / Accepted: 5 November 2019 / Published: 6 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occurrence, Distribution and Ecological Risk of Contaminants in River)
The concentrations and ecological risk of six widespread heavy metals (Cu, Cr, Ni, Zn, Cd and Pb) were investigated and evaluated in sediments from both urban and rural rivers in a northeast city of China. The decreasing trend of the average concentration of heavy metals was Zn > Cr > Cu > Pb > Ni > Cd in Majiagou River (urban) and was Zn > Cr > Pb > Cu > Ni > Cd in Yunliang River (rural). The results showed that the concentrations of Cd and Zn were significantly elevated compared to the environmental background value (p < 0.05). Half of all sampling locations were deemed ‘contaminated’ as defined by the improved Nemerow pollution index (PN > 1.0). Applying the potential ecological risk index (RI) indicated a ‘high ecological risk’ for both rivers, with Cd accounting for more than 80% in both cases. Source apportionment indicated a significant correlation between Cd and Zn in sediments (R = 0.997, p < 0.01) in Yunliang River, suggesting that agricultural activities could be the major sources. Conversely, industrial production, coal burning, natural sources and traffic emissions are likely to be the main pollution sources for heavy metals in Majiagou River. This study has improved our understanding of how human activities, industrial production, and agricultural production influence heavy metal pollution in urban and rural rivers, and it provides a further weight of evidence for the linkages between different pollutants and resulting levels of heavy metals in riverine sediments. View Full-Text
Keywords: heavy metals; sediment; contamination characteristics; possible source; ecological risk heavy metals; sediment; contamination characteristics; possible source; ecological risk
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Cui, S.; Zhang, F.; Hu, P.; Hough, R.; Fu, Q.; Zhang, Z.; An, L.; Li, Y.-F.; Li, K.; Liu, D.; Chen, P. Heavy Metals in Sediment from the Urban and Rural Rivers in Harbin City, Northeast China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4313.

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