Qualitative Assessment of Soil and Sediment Pollution with Some Heavy Metals: A Case Study of Duhok Valley in The Kurdistan Region of Iraq


  • Najlaa Mohammad Ali Qaseem Dept. of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, University of Zakho, Zakho, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
  • Maher Khalid Dept. of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, University of Zakho, Zakho, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
  • Abdulazeez Al-Saffawi Faculty of Education For Pure Science, University of Mosul, Mosul, Iraq




Duhok valley, Soil and Sediment pollution, Heavy metal, PLI, PIN, Igeo


The current study was conducted on the valley of Duhok and the agricultural lands irrigated from it, where three sites were identified for collecting samples quarterly from soil and sediment using clean plastic bags for the purpose of measuring lead, nickel, cobalt and copper. Pollution load index (PLI), Nemerow pollution index (PIN), Potential Ecological Risk (PER) and Geo-accumulation Index (Igeo) were also calculated according to the internationally approved methods. The results indicated that most of lead, nickel and copper concentrations in soils and sediments exceeded the limits allowed by WHO, reaching annual rates (96.758, 168.746 and 29.88) , (111.25, 219.65 and 48.162) mg.kg-1, respectively. This fluctuation in concentrations was reflected in the values of the studied indicators for both soil and sediment, where 50% and 58% of the studied specimen are of the polluted grade and the remnant are of the non-polluted grade according to the PLI values. So is the case with PIN where 58% of the soil specimen and 41.6% of the sediment samples were of the severe pollution grade, while 25% and 33.3% of the specimen were of the heavy pollution grade and the remnant were slightly pollution grade. The same applies to the results of the PER index values, where 50% and 41.67% of the specimen were from the Medium ecological risk category, and the rest were from the low ecological risk category, likewise for the (Igeo) values, 100% and 96% of the soil and sediment samples were from the Weakly polluted category.

Author Biographies

Najlaa Mohammad Ali Qaseem, Dept. of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, University of Zakho, Zakho, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Dept. of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, University of Zakho, Zakho, Kurdistan Region, Iraq - (najlaa.qaseem@uoz.edu.krd)

Maher Khalid , Dept. of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, University of Zakho, Zakho, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Dept. of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, University of Zakho, Zakho, Kurdistan Region, Iraq - (maher.ali@uoz.edu.krd)

Abdulazeez Al-Saffawi , Faculty of Education For Pure Science, University of Mosul, Mosul, Iraq

Faculty of Education For Pure Science, University of Mosul, Mosul, Iraq – (alsaffawia2025@uomosul.edu.iq)


Abdo, M. H. (2004). Distribution of some chemical elements in the recent sediments of Damietta branch, River Nile, Egypt. Journal of the Egyptian Academic Society of Environmental Development. (D. Environmental Studies), 5(2), 125-146.

Ahmed, N.B. (2019). Impact of using Aldanfeeli valley water on the pollution of soil with in heavy metal. Tikrit J. for Agricultural Sci. 19(2): 8-18. http://tujas.tu.edu.iq

Al-Khashman, O. A. (2012). Assessment of heavy metal accumulation in urban soil around potash industrial site in the east of the dead sea and their environmental risks. Soil and Sediment Contamination. 21(2), 276–290. DOI: 10.1080/15320383.2011.609358

Al-Saffawi, A.A.Y.T., Al-Barwarri, M.R.A. and Khidr, N.K. (2009). Physical, chemical and biological characteristic of Duhok valley water Tikrit Journal of Pure Sciences. 4(3): 1-7.

Al-Saffawi, A.Y.T. (2018). Application of CCME WQI to assessment the environmental status of Tigris river water for aquatic life within Nineveh governorate, north Iraq. Alutroha for Environmental Sci. (5): 13-26. www.alutroha.com

APHA, AWWA and WCPE (1998). "Stand Method for Examination of water and wastewater American public Health Association, 20th ed., Washington DC, USA.

APHA, AWWA and WCPE (2017). "Stand Method for Examination of water and wastewater American public Health Association, 23RD ed., Washington DC, USA. https://doi.org/10.2105/SMWW.2882.216

Bakan, G, Ozkoc, H.B. (2007). An ecological risk assessment of the impact of heavy metals in surfaces sediments on biota from the mid- Black sea coast of Turkey. Int. J. Environ. Stud. 64(1):45-57. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207230601125069

Balakrishnan, T., Sundaramanickam, A., Shekhar, S. and Balasubramanian, T. (2015). Distribution and seasonal variation of heavy metals in sediments of Muthupet lagoon, southeast of India. Journal of Ecological Engineering.16(3): 49–60. DOI: 10.12911/22998993/2805

Bhuiyan, K.A., Qureshi, S., Billah, M.M., Kammella, S.V., Alam, R., Ray, S., Monwar, M. and Abu Hena M. K. (2018). Distribution of Trace Metals in Channel Sediment: a Case Study in South Atlantic Coast of Spain. Water Air Soil Pollut. 229:14-30. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-017-3653-5

Billah, M.M., Kamal, A.M., Idris, M.H. and Ismail, J. (2017). Mangrove Macroalgae as Biomonitors of Heavy Metal Contamination in a Tropical Estuary, Malaysia. Water Air Soil Pollution. 228: 347-361. DOI 10.1007/s11270-017-3500-8

Biswas, P.K., Uddin, N., Alam, S., Us-Sakib, T., Sultana, S. and Ahmed, T. (2017). Evaluation of Heavy Metal Pollution Indices in Irrigation and Drinking Water Systems of Barapukuria Coal Mine Area, Bangladesh. American Journal of Water Resources. 5(5): 146-151. DOI:10.12691/ajwr-5-5-2

Chandrasekaran, A., Mukesh, M.V., Chidambaram, S., Singarasubramanian, S.R., Rajendran, S., Muthukumarasamy, R. and Tamilselvi, M. (2014). Assessment of heavy metal distribution pattern in the sediments of Tamirabarani river and estuary, east coast of Tamil Nadu, India. Environ Earth Sci. DOI 10.1007/s12665-014-3593-y

Chen, H., An, J., Wei, S. and Gu, J. (2015). Spatial Patterns and Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Soils in a Resource- Exhausted City, Northeast China. PLOS ONE. 1-13. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0137694

El-Saadani, Z., Mingqi, W., He, Z., Hamukwaya, S, L., Abdel Wahed, M.S.M. and Abu Khatita, A. (2022). Environmental Geochemistry and Fractionation of Cadmium Metal in Surficial Bottom Sediments and Water of the Nile River, Egypt. Toxics. 10: 221.-240. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10050221

El-Sorogy AS, Abdelwahab M, Nour H (2012) Heavy metals contamination of the Quaternary coral reefs, Red Sea coast, Egypt. Environ Earth Sci 67:777–785. DOI 10.1007/s12665-012-1535-0

El-Sorogy, A.S., Tawfik, M., Almadani, S.A. and Attiah, A. (2016). Assessment of toxic metals in coastal sediments of the Rosetta area, Mediterranean Sea, Egypt. Environ Earth Sci. 75:398-409. DOI 10.1007/s12665-015-4985-3

Ghrefat H, Yusuf N (2006) Assessing Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn and Cd pollution in bottom sediments of Wadi Al-Arab Dam, Jordan. Chemosphere 65:2114–2121

Hammash, S.M. and Abed, M.F. (2022). Environmental Evaluation of the Surface Water, Ground Water and Wastewater using Pollution Indices at the Landfill Site, Southern Baiji, Salah Al-Din, Northern Iraq. Iraqi Geological J. 55(1B): 105-112. DOI: 10.46717/igj.55.1B.10Ms-2022-02-26

Hassan, N.E. and Al-barware, M.R.A. (2016). Assessment of Wastewater in Duhok Valley, Kurdistan Region/Iraq. Advances in Sci., Techn. and Engin. Systems J. 1(3): 7-13. www.astesj.com

Hu, Y., Liu, X., Bai, J., Shih, K., Zeng, E.Y. and Cheng, H. (2013). Assessing heavy metal pollution in the surface soils of a region that had undergone three decades of intense industrialization and urbanization. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20:6150– 6159. DOI 10.1007/s11356-013-1668-z

Islam, M.S. (2021). Preliminary assessment of trace elements in surface and deep waters of an urban river (Korotoa) in Bangladesh and associated health risk. Environmental science and pollution research international. doi:10.1007/s11356-021-12541-5

Izah, S.C., Bassey, S.E. and Ohimain, E.I. (2018). Ecological risk assessment of heavy metals in Cassava mill effluents contaminated soil in rural community in the Niger delta region of Nigeria. Molecular Soil Biology. 9: 1-11.

Jaishankar, M., Tseten, T., Anbalagan, N., Mathew, B.B. and Beeregowda, K.N. (2014). Toxicity, Mechanism and Health Effects of Some Heavy Metals. Interdisciplinary

Toxicology. 60-72. https://doi.org/10.2478/intox-2014-0009

Kaur, J., Bhat, S.A., Singh, N., Bhatti, S.S., Kaur, V. and Katnoria, G.K. (2022). Assessment of the heavy metal contamination of roadside soil alongside Buddha Nullal, Ladhiana, Pangab. India. Int. J. Enveron. Public Health. 9: 1596-1620. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031596

Kormoker, T., Proshad, R. and Islam, M.S. (2019). Ecological risk assessment of heavy metals in sediment of the Louhajang river, Bangladesh. SF Journal of Environmental and Earth Science. https://scienceforecastoa.com/

Kouakoui, A.R., Kouassi, N.L.B., Koukouassi, E.K., Trokourey, A., Yao, B.K. and Adouby, K. (2021). Lead concentrations in sediments and mollusc gastropod from

Vridi Canal, Côte d’Ivoire. Int. J. Biol. Chem. Sci. (IJBCS). 15(1): 293-305. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ijbcs.v15i1.26

Kouassi, N.G.L., Yao, K.M., Trokourey, A. and Soro, M.B. (2015). Distribution, sources, and possible adverse biological effects of trace metals in surface sediments of a tropical estuary. Environmental Forensics, 16:96–108. DOI: 10.1080/15275922.2014.991433

Manea, M.H., Al-Tawash1, B.S. Al-Saady, Y.I. (2019). Environmental Geochemical Assessment of Heavy Metals in Soil and Sediment of (Shatt-Al-Hilla) Babil Governorate, Central Iraq. Iraqi Journal of Science. 60(5): 1055-1068. DOI: 10.24996/ijs.2019.60.5.15.

Mekky, H.S., Abou El-Anwar, E.A., Salman, S.A., Elnazer, A.A., Abdel Wahab., W., Asmoay, A.S. (2019). Evaluation of heavy metals pollution by using pollution indices in the soil of Assiut District, Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Chemistry, DOI: https:// doi.org/10.21608/EJCHEM.2019.9720.1654.

Mohammed, N.I. and Bamarni, K.A. (2019). Water quality monitoring of Duhok Dam (Kurdistan Region of Iraq), ZANCO J. of Pure and applied Sci. (. ZJPAS). 31(1): 07-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.21271/ZJPAS.31.1.2

Najamuddin, Prartono, T., Sanusi, H.S. and Nurjaya, I.W. (2016). Seasonal distribution and geochemical fractionation of heavy metals from surface sediment in a tropical estuary of Jeneberang River, Indonesia. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 111: 456–462.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.06.106

Pereira, W.V.D., Ramos, S.J., Melo, L.C.A., Braz, A.M.D; Dias, Y.N., de Almeida, G.V.; Fernandes, A.R. (2022). Levels and environmental risks of rare earth elements in a gold mining area in the Amazon. Environ. Res. 211: 113090. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113090

Perumal, K., Antony, J. and Muthuramalingam, S. (2021). Heavy metal pollutants and their spatial distribution in surface sediments from Thondi coast, Palk Bay, South India. Environ Sci Eur. 33:63-83. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12302-021-00501-2

Qaseem, N., Al-Saffawi, A.Y. and Khalid, M. (2022a). Qualitative assessment of water resources for watering livestock and poultry: A case study of the waters of Duhok valley, Kurdistan region of Iraq. Oriental J. of Chemistry. 38(4): 990-997. http://dx.doi.org/10.13005/ojc/380421

Qaseem, N., Al-Saffawi, A.Y. and Khalid, M. (2022b). Assessment the Environmental Reality of Duhok Valley Water on the Water Quality of Mosul Dam Lake by Using

Water Quality Index (WQI).Egyptian J. of Chemistry. 3(4): 32-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.21608EJCHEM.2022.133799.5897

Qaseem, N., Al-Saffawi, A.Y. and Khalid, M. (2022c). Water Quality Assessment Using the Pollution Index Model (Pij) For Irrigation Purposes. A Case Study: Duhok Valley Water in Northern IRAQ. International J. of Applied Science and Engineering Review. 3(4): 32-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.52267/IJASER.2022.3404

Ragi, A. S., Leena, P. P., Cheriyan, E., & Nair, S. M. (2017). Heavy metal concentrations in some gastropods and bivalves collected from the fishing zone of South India. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 118, 452-458. DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.03.029

Rahman, M.M., Islam, M.A., Bodrud-Doza, M., Muhib, M.I., Zahid, A., Shammi, M., Tareq, S.M. and Kurasaki, M, (2017). Spatio-Temporal Assessment of groundwater quality and human health risk: A case study in Gopalganj, Bangladesh. Expo Health. DOI 10.1007/s12403-017-0253-y

Rakib, M.R.J., Jolly, Y.N., Begum, B.A., Choudhury, T.R., Fatema, K.J., Islam, M.S., Ali, M. and Idris, A.M. (2021). Assessment of trace element toxicity in surface water of a fish breeding river in Bangladesh: a novel approach for ecological and health risk evaluation. Toxin Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1080/15569543.2021.1891936

Salem, M.A. and Alwalayed, S.M. (2019). Assessment of physiochemical properties and concentration of some heavy metals at different seasons in agricultural soils fertilized with phosphate and urea for long-time at BRCK agricultural project. Libya. A special issue of the 3th annual conference on theories and applications. September 7, 2019, Basic and Biological Sciences. Misurata University. Libya. 259-274.

Samy, Y. M. and El-Bady, M. S. M. (2014). Comparative study of the mineralogy and geochemistry of the Burullus and Bardawil lake sediments, Mediterranean Sea Coast, Egypt. Life Science Journal. 11(9): 686-700.

Suresh, G., Ramasamy, V., Sundarrajan, M., & Paramasivam, K. (2015). Spatial and vertical distributions of heavy metals and their potential toxicity levels in various beach sediments from high-background-radiation area, Kerala, India. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 91(1), 389–400. DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.11.007

Vetrimurugan, E., Shruti, V.C., Jonathan, M.P., Roy, P.D., Kunene, N.W. and Villegas, L. E.C. (2017). Metal concentration in the tourist beaches of South Durban: an industrial hub of South Africa. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 117(1), 538–546.DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.02.036

Wuana, R., Ogbodo, C., Itodo, A.U. and Eneji, I.S. (2020). Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessment of Toxic Metals in Water, Sediment and Fish from Lower Usuma Dam, Abuja, Nigeria. J. of Geoscience and Environ. Protection. 8: 82-106. https://doi.org/10.4236/gep.2020.85006

Xu, F., Qiu, L., Cao, Y., Huang, J., Liu, Z., Tian, X., et al. (2016a). Trace metals in the surface sediments of the intertidal Jiaozhou Bay, China: sources and contamination assessment. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 104(1), 371–378. DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.01.019

Yahaya, M.I., Jacob, A.G., Agbendeh, Z.M., Akpan, G.P. and Kwasara, A.A. (2012). Seasonal potential toxic metals contents of Yauri river bottom sediments: North western Nigeria. Journal of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology (JECE). 4(12): 212-221. DOI: 10.5897/JECE11.080

Yang, L., Huang, B., Hu, W., Chen, Y., Mao, M. and Yao, L. (2014). The impact of greenhouse vegetable farming duration and soil types on phytoavailability of heavy metals and their health risk in eastern China. Chemosphere. 103: 121–130. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.11.047

Zhang, Q., Ren, F., Xiong, X., Gao, H., Wang, Y., Sun, W., Leng, P., Li, Z. and Bai, Y. (2021). Spatial distribution and contamination assessment of heavy metal pollution of sediments in coastal reclamation areas: a case study in Shenzhen Bay, China. Environ. Sci. Europe. 33:90 – 101. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12302-021-00532-9




How to Cite

Qaseem, N. M. A., Khalid , M., & Al-Saffawi , A. (2023). Qualitative Assessment of Soil and Sediment Pollution with Some Heavy Metals: A Case Study of Duhok Valley in The Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Science Journal of University of Zakho, 11(1), 65–72. https://doi.org/10.25271/sjuoz.2023.11.1.1048



Science Journal of University of Zakho