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Title: Heavy-metal loadings related to urban contamination in the Kooloonbung Creek catchment, Port Macquarie, New South Wales
Contributor(s): Ashley, Paul (author); Napier, Marion Edna (author)
Publication Date: 2005
DOI: 10.1080/08120090500298111
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Abstract: Urbanisation and industrial development lead to contamination of estuaries and streams with dispersed loadings of heavy metals and metalloids. Contributions of these elements also occur from natural sources. This study provides baseline geochemical data on the respective natural and anthropogenic inputs of Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd, As, Sb, Cr, Ni, Mn and S to estuarine, fluvial and wetland sediments, and adjacent soils, in the Kooloonbung Creek catchment that drains the Port Macquarie urban area in north coastal New South Wales. There have been anthropogenic additions of Cu, Pb, Zn and As from dispersed urban sources at Port Macquarie, but they are restricted to the local catchment and do not impact on the adjacent Hastings River estuary. The most contaminated sediments display enrichment factors up to 20x for Cu and Pb, 9x for Zn and 5x for As relative to local background values. However, only one value (for Pb) exceeds National Water Quality Management Strategy interim sediment quality guideline (high) values. On the other hand, sediments and local soils are commonly strongly enriched in Cr, Ni and Mn, reflecting adjacent ultramafic and mafic rock substrate and lateritic regolith. Concentrations of Cr and Ni are commonly well above interim sediment quality guideline (high) values for sediments, but are in mineralogical forms that are not readily bioavailable. Sediment and soil quality guideline values consequently need to recognise natural enrichments and the mineralogical siting of heavy metals. Although dissolved concentrations of heavy metals in stream waters are commonly low, there is evidence for mobility of Cu, Zn, Fe and Al. Parts of the Kooloonbung Creek wetland area lie on sulfidic estuarine sediments (potential acid sulfate soils). Experimental oxidation of uncontaminated and contaminated sulfidic sediments leads to substantial dissolution of heavy metals under acid conditions, with subsequent aquatic mobility. The results warn about disturbance and oxidation of potential acid sulfate soils that have been contaminated by urban and natural heavy-metal sources.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 52(6), p. 843-862
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Australasia
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 0812-0099
Field of Research (FOR): 040299 Geochemistry not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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