Trace metals in intertidal sediment of mangrove-sheltered creeks in Niger Delta, Nigeria: Variability before and after crude oil spillage
Trace metals (Zn, Cu and Pb) fluxes were studied in five intertidal flats at Bodo Creek, Eastern Niger Delta, Nigeria in 2006, and re-evaluated in 2010 following two major oil spills that occurred in the creek. This study is the first to look at trace metal loads in the interstitial sediments of Bodo creek. Standard methods were employed in the sampling campaign and analysis. The concentration of all metals under study were higher than stipulated limit by WHO (2006) during post spill analysis. Concentration of Zn did not vary between stations and months pre-spill but did in post-spill, having values slightly higher than WHO (2006) stipulated limit. During the pre-spill sediment analysis, Pb concentrations ranged from no detection to 0.0012 mg/kg in 2006, increasing to 0.169 mg/kg post spill in 2010. Cu content ranged from 0.1312 - 0.1858 and 0.3374 - 0.4504 mg/kg pre- and post-spill, respectively. In addition to oil-induced metal loadings, the metals concentration dynamics show strong correlation with season. Metals had higher concentrations during the dry season due to reduced water volume in the creek and consequently less dilution. Implication for uptake, bioaccumulation and biotransformation by food species in the creek catchment above biosafety limits for user population is stressed and measures to avert public health consequences are advocated.
Key words: Trace metals, inter-tidal sediment, Niger Delta, oil pollution.