Lead and other heavy metals in stream sediments in the area of Meža valley


  • Julija Fux
  • Mateja Gosar




In the Meža valley, lead - zinc ore has been exploited and processed for more than 300 years, which has strongly influenced the environment. Previous investigations have shown increased concentrations of lead and some other metals. At the end of the 20th century, the Meža River was considered a stream with the highest concentrations of heavy metals in Slovenia. When the mine and processing plants ceased to operate, the direct transfer of heavy metals into the environment has strongly decreased. However, the deposits of poor ore and wastes from ore processing have remained as an indirect source of heavy metal pollution. From those places heavy metals have been washed out into the nearby streams, and carried into the Meža River and further into the Drava River. Chemical analysis of the Meža River and its tributaries has shown heavy pollution of the upper Meža River sediments with lead, zinc, molybdenum and cadmium, and partly with arsenic. In the lower Meža valley, those concentrations are mildly decreased. Concentrations of cobalt, chrome, copper and nickel are increased in the area around Ravne as a result of the ironworks industry. Mušenik and Jančarjev potok, both tributaries of the Meža River, contribute a high portion of heavy metal load to the Meža River. A specific case is Helenski potok, in which the concentrations of heavy metals strongly surpass the concentrations measured at all other locations. Although more than 10 years have passed since the mine and ore processing plant in the upper Meža valley were closed, the production has ceased and the rehabilitation measures have been taken, the environment in the upper Meža valley is still highly polluted.


How to Cite

Fux, J., & Gosar, M. (2007). Lead and other heavy metals in stream sediments in the area of Meža valley. Geologija, 50(2), 347–360. https://doi.org/10.5474/geologija.2007.025




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