Adsorption and migration of heavy metals between sediments and overlying water in the Xinhe River in central China

Water Sci Technol. 2021 Sep;84(5):1257-1269. doi: 10.2166/wst.2021.314.


Long-term polluted rivers often lead to the accumulation of heavy metals in sediments. Anthropogenic activities or biological disturbances break the adsorption balance, causing them to return from the bottom mud to the overlying water and change the aquatic environment. In order to understand the variation of heavy metals between sediments and river water, we collected the riverbed sediments in the polluted Xinhe River and carried out static continuous infiltration and dynamic uninterrupted disturbance experiments. The leaching experiment shows that the absorbability of Cd and Pb is stronger than Cr in the sediment; at the same time, the properties of the medium have a great influence on the adsorption of heavy metals. The disturbance can prompt heavy metals in the sediment to resuspend into the overlying water. The impact is the greatest during the first 12 h, and the influence degree is stronger in the relatively static water than in the moving river. In addition, pH and other factors have different degrees of influence on the desorption of heavy metals.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • China
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Geologic Sediments
  • Metals, Heavy* / analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rivers
  • Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Water