Environmental risk of trace metals and metalloids in estuarine sediments: An example from Southampton Water, U.K.

Omar Celis Hernandez, Cundy Andrew, Ian Croudace, Raymond Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Industrial and commercial port activities are widely recognized worldwide as an important source of pollution to proximal estuaries. In this study, we analysed geochemical and sedimentological parameters including major and trace elements, organic matter and sediment texture in surface sediments from the estuarine environment of Southampton Water, U.K. Using these data, and multivariate statistical tools [correlation, factor and cluster analysis and pollution indices such as Enrichment Factor (EF), Pollution Load Index (PLI) and the Adverse Effect Index (AEI)], we examine sedimentary trace metal and metalloid contamination, contamination sources, and potential biological impacts of the contamination present. The geochemical data, multivariate statistical analysis and pollution indices indicate that the spatial distribution of trace metals and metalloids is influenced by both sediment composition (and mixing) and anthropogenic activities. Most trace metal and metalloid concentrations are close to local geological background levels, except for Cu, Zn and Pb. The spatial distribution of these elements indicates that the Exxon oil refinery, Southampton port, local marinas and runoff from domestic and industrial activities act effectively as point sources of these elements. Pollution indices calculations highlight a degraded environment as a result of these pollutants, and further work is needed to assess the current impact of trace metals and metalloids on local ecology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113580
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2022


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