Analytical Studies on the Radionuclide Levels of Sediment and Water in an Agricultural Environment in the Egyptian Delta

R. Shady, A. E. A. Elzain


This paper is an environmental investigation of the concentration values of radioisotopes and hazardous elements, aimed to shed light on industrial pollution and the effect of using fertilizers in the period of irrigation water drainage from cultivated lands, especially in the River Nile, irrigated, and draining channels in the middle portion of the Egyptian river delta. Different samples were analyzed, both for water and sediment. Many physical and chemical characteristics of samples were investigated. Among them are the quantitative measure of the acidity or basicity of aqueous or other liquid solutions (pH), grain size, and the total organic matter content (TOM) have been determined for sediments. pH and TDS, beside other types of pollutants, were determined for water samples. The water and sediment samples pH are slightly alkaline. The mean value of TDS for water samples is 488 mg/l, while he usual TDS value in river is 500 mg/l. The TOM values show that the sediment samples are poor in organic matter content. The bicarbonate range in the water samples is smaller than the same range in river water. The levels of Ra-226, Th-232, and K-40 activity in sediments are highly correlated. Natural radionuclides seem to correlate with the artificial Cs-137 in sediment. For this peruse, a 240 cm3 high-purity germanium reagent Type-B was used to quantify the levels in each sample with a relative accuracy of 50 %. The radioactive element K-40 is having a typical value of 12.5 Bq/kg. The concentrations of both Cu beside Zn in water samples is smaller if compared with values that quoted by the WHO, the US-EPA, and the EC. It was also found that the average levels for both Cd and Mn are found to be close to the internationally recommended levels. The water and sediments in the southern part of the canal contain higher concentrations of heavy metals and radioactive isotopes than in the rest of the canal.


Total Organic Matter (TOM) content; Activity concentrations; Total Dissolved Solids (TDS); Heavy metals

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