Assessment of Heavy Metal Contamination of Wetland Soils from a Typical Aquatic–Terrestrial Ecotone in Haihe River Basin, North China



Surface soils were collected in the aquatic–terrestrial ecotone (ATE) of Yongnianwa wetland, downstream of Haihe River basin of North China in June of 2007. Samples were subjected to a total digestion technique before they were analyzed for total concentrations of Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn to investigate their pollution levels in the ATE. The contamination index, integrated contamination index, geoaccumulation index, toxic units, and sum of toxic units were adopted to assess the heavy metal contamination levels and ecotoxicity, respectively. The results showed all the selected element concentrations in upland soils of the ecotone were relatively higher than those in the lowland soils. No Cr pollution was observed in all soil samples, but almost all samples were slightly polluted by Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn except for Site 1. The contamination indexes and geoaccumulation indexes consistently presented no contamination for Site 1 and slight contamination for other sites. The ΣTUs increased from lowland to upland, but the whole level of toxicity in this ecotone was relatively low.