Suspended particulate grain size dynamics and their implications for trace metal sorption in the Don River

Abstract

We examined particle size distributions of suspended particulate matter (SPM); physical and environmental influences on the observed distributions; and relationships between particle size and geochemical partitioning of metals, over the fall and winter period in a small urban river (Don River, Toronto, Ontario, Canada). For this dataset, the majority of particles (80%) in suspension were less than 10 µm in size. In addition, while total SPM concentrations showed a positive trend with increasing discharge (Q); the proportions of particles found within given size classes were independent of both SPM concentration and Q. Temperature was the only measured environmental variable related to the particle concentrations within size classes. As water temperature increased, the concentration of particles in the smallest size class (1–4 µm) decreased, while the concentration of silt and/or algae sized particles (10–50 µm) increased. Increasing water temperatures may promote bacterial attachment to particles and their subsequent flocculation into larger sized particles. Decreasing concentrations of leachable (most labile) Cd, Zn and Mn were associated with increasing concentrations of the largest particles (70–150 µm) in suspension. In contrast, higher reducible (oxides) associated concentrations of Cd, Zn and Mn occurred with increasing concentrations of smaller particles (1–10 µm) in suspension. Both of these trends are speculated to reflect the importance of particle surface area for metal sorption reactions.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00877181

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Cite this paper

@article{Warren2004SuspendedPG, title={Suspended particulate grain size dynamics and their implications for trace metal sorption in the Don River}, author={Lesley A. Warren and Ann P. Zimmermann}, journal={Aquatic Sciences}, year={2004}, volume={56}, pages={348-362} }