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School of Geography

Magaly Valencia Avellan</strong> - Rivers<strong> Magaly Valencia Avellan - Rivers

Contact details

School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK



Project title 

Heavy metal contamination of river water: sources, behaviour and remediation

Start Date

July 2013

Project Overview

The contamination of rivers and other fresh water bodies is ubiquitous as a result of multiple anthropogenic activities. Therefore, governments and inter-governmental organisations seek to implement legislation to improve the quality of this essential resource. In fact, the European Union is pioneering the standardisation of specific chemical and ecological water criteria through the implementation of the Water Framework Directive.

Within this framework, the PhD project “Heavy metal contamination of river water: sources, behaviour and remediation” aims to assess the current situation of one natural waterway in the United Kingdom, an upstream tributary of the River Wharfe (Hebden Beck) as a case study for better management of contaminated waters. This stream, within the North Pennines, has a long history of heavy metal contamination due to mining activities in the past.

The research will involve the evaluation of existing information and development of strategies to improve understanding of the fate and behaviour of heavy metals from source (contaminated spoil sites) to receptor (river water), as well as developing and testing strategies to reduce heavy metal loads in affected water systems. Thus, field monitoring, laboratory analysis, experimentation and computer modelling will be performed.

The project is in collaboration with the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust.



Ecuadorian Government, National Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of Ecuador (SENESCYT scholarship).

Research Affiliations

Research Clusters at Leeds: River Basin Processes & Management, water@leeds.