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28.11.2016 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 2/2017

Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment 2/2017

Anthropogenic contamination and risk assessment of heavy metals in stream sediments influenced by acid mine drainage from a northeast coalfield, India

Zeitschrift:
Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment > Ausgabe 2/2017
Autoren:
P. K. Sahoo, S. Tripathy, M. K. Panigrahi, Sk. Md. Equeenuddin

Abstract

The total concentrations and chemical partitioning of heavy metals in streambed sediments, collected around the Jaintia Hills coal deposit of northeast India, were studied using pollution indices and multivariate techniques to evaluate the risk and contamination levels from heavy metals and their possible origins. Results show that sediments close to mining sites have low pH (<4), high organic carbon, and contain significant amounts of Fe-oxyhydroxide phases (mainly, goethite and schwertmannite), which implies direct impact of coal mine drainage. The average concentrations of Fe, Cu, Co, Cd, Cr, and Zn exceeded the World average, and in some cases, Cd, Cu, Ni, and Cr concentrations exceeded the threshold effects level, which suggests they will be toxic to aquatic biota. Contamination factors (CF) show that the sediments are low to highly contaminated with Cd, Cu, Mn, Pb, Fe, and Zn and low to moderately contaminated with Co, Cr and Ni. The pollution load index (PLI), degree of contamination index (C deg) and Nemerow integrated pollution index (NIPI) show that the sediments are moderately to highly contaminated, with the extent of pollution greatest nearest to the collieries. The potential ecological risk index (RI) shows low to considerable ecological risk from heavy metals in the sediments, with Cd having the high potential of risk, which also agrees with the risk assessment code (RAC). Multivariate statistical analysis suggests that the concentrations of the heavy metals in stream sediments are strongly influenced by Fe-oxyhydroxide phases and organic carbon derived from anthropogenic sources, mainly coal mining activities. Although a significant proportion of the Cd, Mn, and Ni in the sediments are partitioned into exchangeable and organic fractions, a sizable amount of metals are also found in the Fe–Mn fraction, suggesting that Fe-oxyhydroxides play a dominant role in controlling metal mobility in these stream sediments.

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