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A comprehensive analysis and source apportionment of metals in riverine sediments of a rural-urban watershed.


Quantitative assessment of metal sources in sediments is essential for implementation of source control and remediation strategies. This study investigated metal contamination in sediments to assess potential ecological risks and quantify pollutant sources of metals (Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, Cr, Co and Ni) in the Wen-Rui Tang River watershed. Total and fraction analysis indicated high pollution levels of metals. Zinc and Cd posed high ecological risk based on the risk assessment code, with the highest ecological risk found in the southwestern of the watershed. The positive matrix factorization (PMF) model was highly effective in predicting total metal concentrations and identified three contributing metal sources. An agricultural source (factor 1) contributed highly to Cu (74.1%) and Zn (42.5%), and was most prominent in the west and south-central portions of the watershed. Cd (93.5%) showed a high weighting with industrial sources (factor 2) with a hot spot in the southwest. Factor 3 was identified as a mixed natural and vehicle traffic source that showed large contribution to Cr (65.2%), Ni (63.9%) and Pb (50.7%). Spatial analysis indicated a consistent pattern between PMF-identified factors and suspected metal sources at the watershed scale demonstrating the efficacy of the PMF modeling approach for watershed analysis.

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