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Survey of heavy metals in the sediments of the Swartkops River Estuary, Port Elizabeth South Africa

Karen Binning
Dan Baird


Elevated levels of heavy metals in the sediment can be a good indication of man-induced pollution. Concentrations of chrome, lead, zinc, titanium, manganese, strontium, copper and tin were measured in the sediments taken along a section of the Swartkops River and its estuary. These results showed that the highest heavy metal concentrations in both the estuary and river were recorded at points where runoff from informal settlements and industry entered the system. Comparison of the results for the estuary with those obtained in a similar survey made about 20 years ago revealed some remarkable increases. This raises concern over the long-term health of the Swartkops River ecosystem.

WaterSA Vol.27(4) 2001: 461-466