Short-term assessment of heavy metals in surface waters of the Shatt Al-Arab River

Heavy metals Salinity Seawater intrusion Shatt Al-Arab Surface water


January 15, 2023


The Shatt Al-Arab River's water quality deteriorates naturally due to salinity intrusion, and freshwater sources decrease. Seven sampling locations along the Shatt Al-Arab River in southern Iraq were used to examine the level of six heavy metals, including Cu, Cd, Ni, Co, Mn, and Fe, during Januar-December 2021. Salinity levels in the study area ranged from 1.55 upstream to 35.15 g/L downstream of the study area. The pH of surface water ranged 7.545-8.325, indicating alkaline conditions. The concentrations of six heavy metals, viz Cu, Cd, Ni, Mn, Co, and Fe in the study area were 3.741±4.219, 3.654±4.169, 7.700± 6.251, 2.551±3.898, 2.292±3.996, and 18.236±5.583 µg/L, respectively, which decreased in the order of Fe > Ni > Cu > Cd > Mn > Co. There was a considerable change in the quantity of heavy metals throughout the year, with the summer months having the highest concentration. There is a correlation between seawater intrusion and the concentration of heavy metals in the surface waters. The mean levels of the heavy metals were below the allowed values of WHO drinking water guidelines.