The contamination of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems with heavy metals and other mining chemicals have been major environmental problems in many mining areas of the world. Industrial wastes, geochemical structure and metals mining form a potential source of metal contaminants in the aquatic environment especially in sediment. Monitoring sediment quality is one of the highest priorities in environmental protection policies. For better knowledge about migration, transformation behaviour and rules of heavy metals in sediment, it is necessary to make an accurate assessment of contamination level and extent at each site. The aim of this study is to assess the river sediment quality in the territory of East of Slovakia, representing the water basins of the rivers Hornad, Laborec, Torysa, Ondava and Topla. Sampling points were selected based on the current surface water quality monitoring network. Investigation was focused on heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Pb, Cd, Ni, Hg, As, Fe, Mn). The content of heavy metals reflected the scale of industrial and mining activities in a particular locality. The sediment quality was evaluated using potential ecological risk index for heavy metals
concentrations in the samples.
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