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Article

Environmental Background Values and Ecological Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Watershed Sediments: A Comparison of Assessment Methods

Center for Eco-Environmental Engineering, Dongguan University of Technology, Dongguan 523808, China
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Academic Editor: Domenico Cicchella
Water 2022, 14(1), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14010051
Received: 23 November 2021 / Revised: 18 December 2021 / Accepted: 20 December 2021 / Published: 27 December 2021
The distribution and assessment of heavy metal pollution in sediments have been extensively studied worldwide. Risk assessment methods based on total content, background values, and sediment quality guidelines are widely applied but have never been compared. We systematically sorted out these evaluation methods, obtained evaluation results using actual monitoring data, and compared their applicability. The results showed that the background values of different metals are significantly different, which may depend on their mobility. Geoaccumulation index (Igeo) and enrichment factor (EF) values invariably decreased with the increase of background values for individual heavy metal enrichment risk assessment. Compared with EF, Igeo also showed a significant positive linear correlation with heavy metal content. Pollution load index (PLI), modified contamination degree (mCd), and potential ecological risk index (RI) showed significant differences in response to background values and evaluation levels for the comprehensive risk of heavy metal enrichment, but their distribution trends along with the sampling points were basically identical. Toxic risk index (TRI), mean ERM quotient (mERMQ), and contamination severity index (CSI) were used to evaluate the damage degree of complex heavy metals to aquatic organisms and shared a similar whole-process distribution trend. The modified hazard quotient (mHQ), which is used to evaluate the toxicity of a single heavy metal to aquatic organisms, showed a significant positive linear correlation with the total content of each heavy metal, indicating that the toxic effect on organisms can be predicted through the direct monitoring. The results of this study have important guiding significance for the selection of evaluation methods for heavy metal pollution in sediments. View Full-Text
Keywords: risk assessment; method comparison; different types of background values; sediment quality guidelines; heavy metals risk assessment; method comparison; different types of background values; sediment quality guidelines; heavy metals
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MDPI and ACS Style

Liao, J.; Cui, X.; Feng, H.; Yan, S. Environmental Background Values and Ecological Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Watershed Sediments: A Comparison of Assessment Methods. Water 2022, 14, 51. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14010051

AMA Style

Liao J, Cui X, Feng H, Yan S. Environmental Background Values and Ecological Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Watershed Sediments: A Comparison of Assessment Methods. Water. 2022; 14(1):51. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14010051

Chicago/Turabian Style

Liao, Jianbo, Xinyue Cui, Hai Feng, and Shangkun Yan. 2022. "Environmental Background Values and Ecological Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Watershed Sediments: A Comparison of Assessment Methods" Water 14, no. 1: 51. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14010051

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