Assessment of Heavy Metal Pollution in Clay Fraction of the Euphrates River Sediments, AlQaim, Haditha Area, Western Desert Iraq
Clay fractions (<2µm) from ten stream sediments were collected from the Euphrates River between AlQaim-Haditha area in the western desert of Iraq. The clay fractions were analyzed for Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Sr, and Zn using an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. The aim of this research is to study the extent to which the industrial waste liquids from chemical complex of phosphates pollute stream sediments of Euphrates River. The total metal concentrations in the clay fraction are placed in the following descending order: Sr> Zn> Cr> Ni> Co> Pb> Cu> Cd. Contamination factor pollution load index, geo-accumulation index, the metal contamination index, and potential ecological risk index were calculated to evaluate the environmental impacts of these heavy metals. The study area was found to be highly contaminated with Cd and Ni, moderately contaminated with Co, Pb and Sr, and uncontaminated with Cr, Cu and Zn. 100% of Cd and 93% of Sr were concentrated in the extracted part of the clay fraction, suggesting that Cd is totally derived from the industrial and human activities in the studied area, and Sr which can be attributed to the carbonates of Euphrates Formation as its source which dominate the geology of the area.