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Open AccessArticle

Climate Change Impacts on Sediment Quality of Subalpine Reservoirs: Implications on Management

CNR IRSA, Water Research Institute, Via del Mulino, 19, I-20861 Brugherio (MB), Italy
Lombardy Region, Piazza Città di Lombardia, 1, I-20124 Milano, Italy
Lombardy Regional Environmental Protection Agency, Via Rosellini, 17, I-20124 Milano, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2017, 9(9), 680;
Received: 8 August 2017 / Revised: 4 September 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 7 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources)
Reservoirs are characterized by accumulation of sediments where micropollutants may concentrate, with potential toxic effects on downstream river ecosystems. However, sediment management such as flushing is needed to maintain storage capacity. Climate change is expected to increase sediment loads, but potential effects on their quality are scarcely known. In this context, sediment contamination by trace elements (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Zn) and organics (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons PAHs, Polychlorinated Biphenyls PCBs and C > 12 hydrocarbons) was analyzed in 20 reservoirs located in Italian Central Alps. A strong As and a moderate Cd, Hg and Pb enrichment was emphasized by Igeo, with potential ecotoxicological risk according to Probable Effect Concentration quotients. Sedimentation rate, granulometry, total organic carbon (TOC) and altitude resulted as the main drivers governing pollutant concentrations in sediments. According to climate change models, expected increase of rainfall erosivity will enhance soil erosion and consequently the sediment flow to reservoirs, potentially increasing coarse grain fractions and thus potentially diluting pollutants. Conversely, increased weathering may enhance metal fluxes to reservoirs. Increased vegetation cover will potentially result in higher TOC concentrations, which may contrast contaminant bioavailability and thus toxicity. Our results may provide elements for a proper management of contaminated sediments in a climate change scenario aiming at preserving water quality and ecosystem functioning. View Full-Text
Keywords: dams; trace metals; contaminated sediments; desiltation; sedimentation rate dams; trace metals; contaminated sediments; desiltation; sedimentation rate
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Laura, M.; Tartari, G.; Salerno, F.; Valsecchi, L.; Bravi, C.; Lorenzi, E.; Genoni, P.; Guzzella, L. Climate Change Impacts on Sediment Quality of Subalpine Reservoirs: Implications on Management. Water 2017, 9, 680.

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