J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 645 - 648

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 645
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030386

Environmental archives of heavy metal pollution or contaminated land? A case study of former water powered industrial sites in South Yorkshire, UK

S.M. Hutchinson

Telford Institute of Environmental Systems (TIES), School of Environment & Life Sciences, University of Salford, Salford, Gt. Manchester M6 6PU, U.K.

Environmental contamination from former industrial activity can act as a 'forgotten' and thereby largely undetennined source of pollutants, which may be dispersed to a wider area. Sheffield (UK) has a high densities of former water powered industrial sites Although many sites have now disappeared, sediments stored in former millponds provide a potential environmental archive of the impact of such industry. A survey of eight former millponds has revealed a consistent pattern of sedimentation within each site. Heavy metal levels show marked variations in contamination between the sites and through out the sediment core profiles. These patterns reflect the industrial history of the sites, but the retrospective monitor of industrial emissions that they provide is restricted by the hydrodynamics of such sites Sediment Pb levels at Abbeydale Works are particularly high and can exceed ICRCL thresholds. Historical evidence and the Pb isotope ratio suggest that this contamination pre dates the millpond (circa 1775) reflecting lead smelting activities from at least the 18 $\rm th$ Century. Therefore significant lead pollution can result from relatively early industrial activity. Furthermore, lad-rich deposits are also found in adjacent floodplain sediments and indicate the transport of contaminants beyond the site.

© EDP Sciences 2003