Investigation of trace element mobility in river sediments using ICP-OES

  • PJ Botes
  • JF van Staden


In this study, the column method was used to determine the leachable trace metals present in selected river sediments. In addition the sediments were investigated using a shaker method and these two methods were compared for reliability. For both these methods extract solutions associated with a sequential extraction method were used. However, the sediments were only subjected to one extractant solution and not to the whole sequential procedure. The river sediments were also subjected to a digestion procedure to determine the total trace metal content. Simulated pollution experiments were performed where the sediments were also spiked to give known concentrations of trace metals. These results were very useful, especially in cases where certain trace metals were not currently present in river sediments. From the results achieved in this study the general trace metal status of the sediments can be established. From the results achieved it was established that in the case of the less impacted rivers (Crocodile and Olifants Rivers) only slight changes in the river conditions are needed to mobilise the trace metals present. From the results of the Blesbokspruit it was seen that urgent attention is needed to prevent further damage to the system.

Water SA Vol. 31 (2) 2005: pp.183-192

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0378-4738