• BCR extraction;
  • Geoaccumulation index;
  • Heavy metal;
  • Sediment pollution


The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) commits European Union member states to achieving good ecological status in all water bodies by 2015. For sediments the definition of good chemical status is based on numerical sediment quality guidelines. The aqua regia fraction is thus used for the evaluation of heavy metal concentrations in sediments. The chemical constituents in sediments responsible for mobility and toxicity are not considered generally. This article presents the combining of the sequential BCR procedure, for determining the chemical species of relevant elements, with the geoaccumulation index principle a numerical classification method for sediment quality guidelines. Using the BCR method it can be demonstrated that changes in element speciation can lead to more highly mobile species of trace elements which may affect the hazardous potential of sediments despite the “good chemical status” classification for aqua regia digestions. The Klinke stream is an urban surface water body located in Magdeburg, the state capital of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Using this stream as an example it is shown that this additional information helps to describe the dynamics and discharge of the trace elements Al, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Rb, Sr, Mo, Pd, Cd, Sb, Ba, Pb, Bi, and U into the Elbe River from urban water bodies.