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In an effort to combat the threat of drought, China constructed the South-to-North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP), the biggest water transfer project in terms of volume with the largest beneficiary population in the world. Reports have shown that massive water diversion projects have had detrimental environmental consequences including water quality decline and freshwater habitat degradation. However, few reports have assessed the impact of the transfer project on sediment quality, which is highly susceptible to allogenic and local anthropogenic pollution. We examined the distribution characteristics of Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in surface sediment of the largest reservoir along the East Route of SNWTP, Nansihu Lake, followed by positive matrix factorization (PMF) to determine their potential sources. We utilized enrichment factor, multiple sediment quality guidelines (SQGs), and potential ecological risk index (RI) to determine metal accumulation or pollution risk. The results show the mean concentrations of Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn were slightly lower than in samples collected in 2003, 2010 and 2012, while the mean concentrations of Cr and Ni were significantly higher than samples from previous years. Among the six metals, Cr, Cu and Ni are of higher ecological risk according to SQGs; but Cd is of higher ecological risk according to RI. PMF analysis shows that industrial production and shipping are important sources of Cr, Cu, and Ni. PMF analysis also shows that a considerable amount of trace metals, especially Cd, Cr, Pb and Zn, mainly comes from the use of pesticide fertilizers and biomass sources in farmland, and may partly enter Nansihu Lake from SNWTP. This study reveals the possible sources of trace metals to the Nansihu Lake which is part of SNWTP; the results of the study may serve as a reference for better understanding the impact of future water diversion projects on metals distribution.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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State bounded on the north by Lake Superior and Michigan, on the east by Lake Michigan, on the south by Illinois and Iowa, and on the west by Minnesota and Iowa.
State bounded on the north by Lake Ontario and Canada, on the east by Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and on the west by Pennsylvania, Lake Erie, and Canada.