Dariusz Ciszewski, Urszula Aleksander-Kwaterczak


The concentrations of zinc and cadmium were determined in the sediment cores sampled from the floodplain and the channel in the middle reach of the Biała Przemsza River valley (southern Poland). The results were compared to the river water and groundwater chemistry in order to reveal the average extent of the hyporheic flow. Losing of river waters through the river bed, due to the natural migration modified by the drainage of the lead-zinc ore mine, caused the strong pollution of the river bed sediments with heavy metals over the depth of almost three meters below the water table in the river. Moreover, the similar groundwater and river water chemistry at that depth suggests that the vertical extent of the hyporheic zone, exceeding even several meters below the channel, can be affected by drainage of river waters by the lead-zinc mine. The lateral extent of the hyporheic flow, indicated by changes in groundwater chemistry and elevated heavy metal concentrations in sediments, was of the order of dozen or so meters. The investigation documents the large impact of the secondary in situ enrichment of sediments with heavy metals in the hyporheic zone. 


water, sediment, floodplain, Biała Przemsza River

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