Metal contamination and solid phase partitioning of metals in urban roadside sediments

Pyeong Koo Lee, Youn Hee Yu, Seong Taek Yun, Bernhard Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


This study was undertaken to assess the anthropogenic impact on metal concentrations of urban roadside sediments (N = 633) in Seoul city, Korea and to estimate the potential mobility of selected metals (Zn, Cu, Pb, Cr, Ni, and Cd) using sequential extraction. Comparison of metal concentrations in roadside sediments with mean background values in sediments collected from first- or second-order streams in Korea shows that Zn, Cu and Pb are most affected by anthropogenic inputs. The 206Pb/207Pb ratios of roadside sediments (range = 1.1419-1.1681; mean 1.1576 ± 0.0068) suggest that Pb is mainly derived from industrial sources rather than from leaded gasoline. A five-step sequential extraction of roadside sediments showed that Zn, Cd and to a lesser degree Ni occur predominantly in the carbonate bound fraction, while Pb is highest in the reducible fraction, Cu in the organic fraction, and Cr in the residual fraction. It was found that the concentrations in the readily available exchangeable fraction were generally low for most metals examined, except for Ni whose exchangeable fraction was appreciable (average 15.2%). Considering the proportion of metals bound to the exchangeable and carbonate fractions, the comparative mobility of metals probably decreases in the order of Zn > Ni > Cd > Pb > Cu > Cr. As potential changes of redox state and pH may remobilize the metals bound to carbonates, reducible, and/or organic matter, and may release and flush them through drain networks into streams, careful monitoring of environmental conditions appears to be very important. With respect to ecotoxicity, it is apparent the Zn and Cu pollution is of particular concern in Seoul city.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-689
Number of pages18
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant (1999-2-131-001-3) from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. The third author (S.T. Yun) received a support from the Environmental Geosphere Research Laboratory (EGRL) of Korea University. We should acknowledge the reviewers and editor for their constructive and thoughtful comments on the manuscript.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Contamination
  • Lead isotopes
  • Metals
  • Partitioning
  • Urban roadside sediments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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