Charles Explorer logo

A long-term survey of heavy metals and specific organic compounds in biofilms, sediments, and surface water in a heavily affected river in the Czech Republic

Publication at Faculty of Science |


To assess the long-term anthropogenic load of the Bílina River (Czech Republic), the concentrations of heavy metals and specific organic compounds in different river ecosystem matrices (water, biofilms and sediments) were determined. Although the current concentrations of pollutants in surface water are low, frequently below the limits of the quantitative analytical methods used, the river ecosystem is still heavily loaded by anthropogenic pollution, mainly from the chemical and mining industries.

This was demonstrated by analyzing biofilms and sediments. These matrices are more accurate representatives of the actual situation in the river, and do not depend on hydrological conditions or random variability in water quality.

The results indicate that the middle and the lower parts of the river are heavily polluted by Hg, As, V, PCBs, HCB and DDT. As a tributary of the Elbe River, the Bílina River represents a significant risk for the development of quality in this major European river.