Variation in the availability of metals in surface water, an evaluation based on the dissolved, the freely dissolved and Biotic Ligand Model bioavailable concentration

A. J. Wijdeveld*, C. A. Schipper, T. J. Heimovaara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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In this study the spatial distribution of dissolved metals in surface water is studied at nine locations in Lake Ketelmeer (the Netherlands). The measured dissolved metal concentrations are combined with the local water quality parameters for salinity, pH, alkalinity and DOC to calculate a FIAM Free Ion Activity Model (FIAM) and the Biotic Ligand Model (BLM) based bioavailable metal concentration. The BLM model is used for Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn and the FIAM model for Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn. To be able to compare the dissolved metal concentration with the FIAM or BLM based bioavailable metal concentration, an accepted reference standard can be used which is also corrected for the bioavailable concentration. Here the Water Framework Directive (WFD) Annual Average Quality Standard (AA-QS) is used, corrected for the FIAM and BLM based bioavailable metal concentration under reference conditions. This yielded a site specific Risk Characterization Ratio (RCRFIAM/RCRBLM). The FIAM model shows an exceedance of the site specific AA-QS for Cu (RCRFIAM of 1.8) and Pb (RCRFIAM of 1.5) in the northern middle part of the lake. This is due to a lower pH in this part of the lake. The BLM model was inconclusive with regard to spatial trends for Cu and Ni due to out of boundary conditions for the model. For locations where the BLM model was within the model boundary conditions, the RCRBLM could be as high as 7.5 for Cu and 3.2 for Ni. The main water quality parameter causing the high RCRBLM was the low DOC concentration. To establish if the locally increased RCR for Cu and Pb (FIAM) or Cu and Ni (BLM) poses an ecotoxicological risk to organisms the multi substances Potentially Affected Fraction (ms-PAF) model is used. The FIAM based ms-PAF indicates that the northern middle part of the lake has the highest chronic metal exposure risk, with an ms-PAF of 27%. The BLM based ms-PAF has a maximum of 45%, but lacks a spatial trend due to the missing BLM corrected Cu and Ni concentrations for some locations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-270
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Case study
  • Ecotoxicological risk evaluation
  • Geochemical modeling
  • Metal speciation
  • Quality standard


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