Contamination and ecological risk assessment of toxic trace elements in the Xi River, an urban river of Shenyang city, China

Chunye Lin, Mengchang He, Xitao Liu, Wei Guo, Shaoqing Liu

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38 Scopus citations


The objectives of this study were to assess the enrichment, contamination, and ecological risk posed by toxic trace elements in the sediments of the Xi River in the industrialized city of Shenyang, China. Surface sediment and sediment core were collected; analyzed for toxic trace elements; and assessed with an index of geoaccumulation (Igeo), enrichment factor (EF) value, potential ecological risk factor (Er), ecological risk index (RI), and probable effect concentration quotient (PECQ). Elemental concentrations (milligram per kilogram) were 8.5-637.9 for As, 6.5-103.9 for Cd, 12.2-21.9 for Co, 90.6-516.0 for Cr, 258.1-1,791.5 for Cu, 2.6-19.0 for Hg, 70.5-174.5 for Ni, 126.9-1,405.8 for Pb, 3.7-260.0 for Sb, 38.4-100.4 for V, and 503-4,929 for Zn. The Igeo, EF, Er, and PECQ indices showed that the contamination of Cd and Hg was more serious than that of As, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Sb, and Zn, whereas the presence of Co and V might be primarily from natural sources. The Igeo index for Cr and Ni might underestimate the degree of contamination, potentially as a result of high concentrations of these elements in the shale. The RI index was higher than 600, indicating a notably high ecological risk of sediment for the river. The average PECQ for As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Zn ranged from 1.4 to 4.1 for surface sediment and from 5.2 to 9.6 in the sediment cores, indicating a high potential for an adverse biological effect. It was concluded that the sediment in the Xi River was severely contaminated and should be remediated as a hazardous material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4321-4332
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Contamination
  • Ecological risk
  • Heavy metal
  • Sediment
  • Urban river


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