Assessing the mobility of metals in an aquatic environment: River Fani and River Mati, Albania

Kumanova, Xhume; Leka, Gjovalin; Nilsson, Bertil; Jacks, Gunnar
October 2015
Environmental Earth Sciences;Oct2015, Vol. 74 Issue 7, p6293
Academic Journal
The transport of metals was investigated at 15 sites in the River Fani and the River Mati in N. Albania. There are numerous abandoned copper mine sites and one active mine upstream in the River Fani catchment. Upstream in the Mati catchment, there is a large chromium smelter and several chromium mines. Water samples and sediment samples were collected at all the sites. Moreover, the water samples at a number of the sites were fractionated by filtering and by dialysis to assess in which form the metals were transported. There was a relatively larger abundance of metals in the suspended (unfiltered water) and colloidal phases (filtered by 0.2-μm filters). Metal concentrations in water and in sediments decreased rapidly downstream away from point sources, approaching background levels within 10 km, indicating that the larger fractions could settle in the sediments. The River Mati recharges a large coastal aquifer via an alluvial fan at the entrance into the coastal plain. There does not seem to be any risk of metals appearing in the groundwater, as the transport mode is that of largely suspended and colloidal matter. The offshore metals in the Adriatic Sea are likely to be flushed out during rainy seasons with high discharge. The bioavailability of the metals is likely to be low except for just downstream of point sources. In view of the relatively large fractions of metals found in the suspended and colloidal phases, the establishment of sedimentation basins downstream point sources would decrease the export to the rivers.


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