Heavy metal content in the stream sediments adjacent to a sanitary landfill


Samples of stream sediments were collected along two streams adjacent to a sanitary landfill. One of the streams drained the landfill directly. In addition, control of background samples were also analyzed from a stream not affected by the landfill. All samples were analyzed for Ag, Zn, Cu, Cd, and Pb content using atomic adsorption techniques. The pH of the three streams were monitored since pH differences in the streams may affect the quantities of metals adsorbed or precipitated on the sediments. The comparison between the content of Ag, Zn, and Cu in the sediments of the two study streams and the same metals in the control sediments indicated the landfill emitted these metals into the two adjacent streams. However, since the Cd and Pb contents in the sediments of both streams were similar to that of the control stream sediments, these metals may not be emitted into the two study streams from the landfill and they represent only background quantities. The comparisons of each metal in the sediments of each stream were made by the use of a metal trend chart, the individual calculated mean metal content values, and by the statistical two sample t-test. No decreasing trends of the quantities of Ag, Zn, or Cu as a function of increasing distance from the landfill was present in the sediments along the stream that drained the landfill directly. These sediments might have been affected by stream action and became mixed with other sediments downstream.


Geography, Geology, and Planning

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heavy metal, metal content, heavy metal content, stream sediment, atomic adsorption

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Journal Title

Environmental Geology and Water Sciences