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This research was carried out at the Institute of the Environment of the Communal Research Centre of Ispra in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry of La Sapienza University in Rome.

The object of the study was lake Montorfano, a small, somewhat circular basin with an area of 0.459 km and an average depth of about 4.15 m., situated in the Upper Brianza in the province of Como. From a territorial point of view, the lake comes under the control of the communes of Montorfano and Capiago Intimano and, by a council decision of 1984 it was declared a 'natural reserve'. It is therefore a protected area of significant natural interest. It is defined as a mesotrophic lake with a tendency to modest eutrophy. Furthermore, polymetallic contamination has been identified from previous studies. On the basis of these facts, this research has sought to identify the sources of an unquestionably high concentration in this case of six heavy metals of environmental interest: Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn.

An aquatic ecosystem is without doubt a very complex system, being made up of various components: surface water, particulate matter, sediment, interstitial water and living organisms. In order to get a complete picture of the health of an ecosystem, each of these must be accurately studied. However, a study of the sediment, thanks to its characteristic of preserving and accumulating polluting agents, allows valid information to be obtained in an environmental investigation.

Additional information

Authors: SERANO ET AL, Environment Institute JRC, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 19625 IT (2000) 129pp, Euro: Free from EI, JRC Ispra Italy
Record Number: 200012861 / Last updated on: 2000-11-21
Original language: it
Available languages: it