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Article

Assessment of Heavy Metal Pollution Levels in Sediments and of Ecological Risk by Quality Indices, Applying a Case Study: The Lower Danube River, Romania

1
European Center of Excellence for the Environment, Faculty of Sciences and Environment, University of Galati, 800001 Galati, Romania
2
Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development, 820112 Tulcea, Romania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2021, 13(13), 1801; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131801
Received: 4 June 2021 / Revised: 24 June 2021 / Accepted: 28 June 2021 / Published: 29 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Water Quality and Contamination)
It is a well–known fact that heavy metal pollution in sediments causes serious problems not only in the Danube basin, but also in the large and small adjacent river streams. A suitable method for assessing the level of heavy metals and their toxicity in sediments is the calculation of pollution indices. The present research aims to assess heavy metal pollution in the Lower Danube surface sediments collected along the Danube course (between 180 and 60 km) up to the point where the Danube River flows into the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization—UNESCO, protected area). In addition, this monitored area is one of the largest European hydrographic basins. Five heavy metals (Cd, Ni, Zn, Pb, Cu) were analyzed in two different seasons, i.e., the autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2019, using the Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP– MS) technique. Our assessment of heavy metal pollution revealed two correlated aspects: 1. a determination of the potential risks of heavy metals in sediments by calculating the Potential Ecological Risk Index (RI), and 2. an evaluation of the influence of anthropogenic activities on the level of heavy metal contamination in the surface sediments, using three specific pollution indices, namely, the Geo–Accumulation Index (Igeo), the Contamination Factor (CF), and the Pollution Load Index (PLI). The results of this pioneering research activity in the region highlighted the presence of moderate metal (Ni and Cd) pollution and a low potential ecological risk for the aquatic environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: lower Danube River; sediment pollution indices; heavy metals; potential ecological risk lower Danube River; sediment pollution indices; heavy metals; potential ecological risk
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MDPI and ACS Style

Calmuc, V.A.; Calmuc, M.; Arseni, M.; Topa, C.M.; Timofti, M.; Burada, A.; Iticescu, C.; Georgescu, L.P. Assessment of Heavy Metal Pollution Levels in Sediments and of Ecological Risk by Quality Indices, Applying a Case Study: The Lower Danube River, Romania. Water 2021, 13, 1801. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131801

AMA Style

Calmuc VA, Calmuc M, Arseni M, Topa CM, Timofti M, Burada A, Iticescu C, Georgescu LP. Assessment of Heavy Metal Pollution Levels in Sediments and of Ecological Risk by Quality Indices, Applying a Case Study: The Lower Danube River, Romania. Water. 2021; 13(13):1801. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131801

Chicago/Turabian Style

Calmuc, Valentina A., Madalina Calmuc, Maxim Arseni, Catalina M. Topa, Mihaela Timofti, Adrian Burada, Catalina Iticescu, and Lucian P. Georgescu 2021. "Assessment of Heavy Metal Pollution Levels in Sediments and of Ecological Risk by Quality Indices, Applying a Case Study: The Lower Danube River, Romania" Water 13, no. 13: 1801. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131801

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