• heavy metals;
  • Kenya;
  • labile;
  • Lake Naivasha;
  • seasonal variation;
  • sediments;
  • sewage;
  • speciation


Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake with no surface outlet, lying within a closed basin of the Kenyan Rift Valley. It is perceived to be a lake undergoing anthropogenic stresses. This study is intended to determine the speciation of some selected heavy metals in the sediments of Lake Naivasha, as an indicator of potential pollution of the lake. Sediment and water sampling of the lake was conducted in March and May 2003, during the dry and wet seasons, respectively. Analyses of the speciation of heavy metals in sediment samples (<63 µm faction) were performed on sediment samples collected from five sites within the lake. The study results obtained indicated that influent Malewa River was not a source of labile copper (Cu), lead (Pb) or zinc, despite the river having the highest percentage clay content during the wet season (86%). Copper was highly distributed in the residual sediment fraction (average of 90%). Among the labile sediment factions, the highest quantity of Cu was in the oxidizable phase (3.58 and 2.30 µg g−1 during the dry and wet season, respectively). Carbonate-bound Cu was sparingly distributed during both the dry and the wet seasons, ranging between 0.74 and 1.81 µg g−1. Iron was highly distributed in the oxidizable sediment phase, exhibiting concentrations ranging between 2.0 and 6.0 (×103) µg g−1. Relative to the other heavy metals, manganese was distributed in lower proportions in the residual sediment fraction. High concentrations of Pb were observed in the oxidizable phase from most of the sampling sites along the lake shore. Zinc was distributed largely in the oxidizable phase, being highest at sampling site SS, which was located near a municipal sewage input to the lake. The sediments collected at the sampling sites located in the deep portion of the lake exhibited the highest concentrations of labile heavy metals.