Water Quality Survey of Streams from Retezat Mountains (Romania)

Mihai-Cosmin Pascariu 1 , 2 , Tiberiu Tulucan 3 , 4 , Mircea Niculescu 5 , Iuliana Sebarchievici 2 , and Mariana Nela Ștefănuț 2
  • 1 ”Vasile Goldiş” Western University of Arad, Faculty of Pharmacy, 86 Liviu Rebreanu, RO-310414, Arad, Romania
  • 2 National Institute of Research & Development for Electrochemistry and Condensed Matter – INCEMC Timișoara, 144 Dr. Aurel Păunescu-Podeanu, RO-300569, Timișoara, Romania
  • 3 ”Vasile Goldiș” Western University of Arad, Izoi-Moneasa Center of Ecological Monitoring, 94 Revoluției Blvd., RO-310025, Arad, Romania
  • 4 Romanian Society of Geography, Arad subsidiary, 2B Vasile Conta, RO-310422, Arad, Romania
  • 5 University Politehnica Timișoara, Faculty of Industrial Chemistry and Environmental Engineering, 6 Vasile Pârvan Blvd., RO-300223, Timișoara, Romania


The Retezat Mountains, located in the Southern Carpathians, are one of the highest massifs in Romania and home of the Retezat National Park, which possesses an important biological value. This study aimed at the investigation of water quality in creeks of the Southern Retezat (Piule-Iorgovanul Mountains) in order to provide information on pollutants of both natural and anthropogenic origin, which could pose a threat for the human health. Heavy metal and other inorganic ion contents of samples were analyzed with on-site and laboratory measurements to estimate water quality. The samples were investigated using microwave plasma - atomic emission spectrometry to quantify specific elements, namely aluminium, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, lead and zinc. The results were compared with the European Union and Romanian standards regarding drinking water and surface water quality. The studied heavy metals have been found to be in very low concentrations or under the method’s detection limit. Thus, in the microbasin corresponding to the sampling points, there seems to be no heavy metal pollution and, from this point of view, the samples comply as drinking water according to the European Union and Romanian recommendations. Our findings confirm that the Retezat Mountains are still among the least contaminated regions in Europe and that the ecosystem and the human health is not negatively influenced by water quality problems.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Ardelean, M. 2010. Piule-Iorgovanu Mountains – Geomorphologic study (PhD thesis). “Babeş-Bolyai” University of Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

  • Brad, T., Fekete, A., Şandor, M.S., Purcărea, C. 2015. Natural attenuation potential of selected hydrokarst systems in the Carpathian Mountains (Romania). Water Sci. Technol.: Water Supply 15(1), 196–206. DOI: 10.2166/ws.2014.092.

  • Bradl, H., Kim, C., Kramar, U., Stüben, D. 2005. Interactions of Heavy Metals. In: Bradl, H.B. (ed.) Heavy Metals in the Environment: origin, interaction and remediation. Elsevier Academic Press, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 28–164. DOI: 10.1016/S1573-4285(05)80021-3.

  • Bytnerowicz, A., Badea, O., Popescu, F., Musselman, R., Tanase, M., Barbu, I., Frączek, W., Gembasu, N., Surdu, A., Danescu, F., Postelnicu, D., Cenusa, R., Vasile, C. 2005. Air pollution, precipitation chemistry and forest health in the Retezat Mountains, Southern Carpathians, Romania. Environ. Pollut. 137, 546–567. DOI:10.1016/j.envpol.2005.01.040.

  • Camarero, L., Botev, I., Muri, G., Psenner, R., Rose, N., Stuchlik, E. 2009. Trace elements in alpine and arctic lake sediments as a record of diffuse atmospheric contamination across Europe. Freshwater Biol. 54(12), 2518–2532. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2009.02303.x.

  • Catalan, J. 2015. Tracking Long-Range Atmospheric Transport of Trace Metals, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, and Organohalogen Compounds Using Lake Sediments of Mountain Regions. In: Blais, J.M. et al. (eds.) Environmental Contaminants, Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research 18. Springer Netherlands, 263–322. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-9541-8_11.

  • Catalan, J., Curtis, C.J., Kernan, M. 2009. Remote European mountain lake ecosystems: regionalisation and ecological status. Freshwater Biol. 54(12), 2419–2432. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2009.02326.x.

  • Duffus, J.H. 2002. “Heavy metals” – a meaningless term? (IUPAC Technical Report). Pure Appl. Chem. 74(5), 793–807. DOI: 10.1351/pac200274050793.

  • European Union 1998. Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=URISERV:l28079 (accessed July 2, 2016).

  • Fitzgerald, E.F., Schell, L.M., Marshall, E.G., Carpenter, D.O., Suk, W.A., Zejda, J.E. 1998. Environmental Pollution and Child Health in Central and Eastern Europe. Environ. Health Perspect. 106(6), 307–311.

  • Google Earth (v. © 2015 Google Inc., https://www.google.com/earth/.

  • Higson, S. 2006. Analytical Chemistry. Oxford University Press, New York, p. 201.

  • Iordache, M., Popescu, L.R., Pascu, L.F., Iordache, I. 2015. Environmental Risk Assessment in Sediments from Jiu River, Romania. Rev. Chim. (Bucharest) 66(8), 1247–1252.

  • Jaishankar, M., Tseten, T., Anbalagan, N., Mathew, B.B., Beeregowda, K.N. 2014. Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals. Interdiscip. Toxicol. 7(2), 60–72. DOI: 10.2478/intox-2014-0009.

  • Kern, Z., Popa, I. 2009. Assessing temperature signal in X-ray densitometric data of Norway spruce and the earliest instrumental record from the Southern Carpathians. Journal of Env. Geogr. 2(3-4), 15–22.

  • Lenntech, 2016. Conductivity convertor, http://www.lenntech.com/calculators/conductivity/tds-engels.htm (accessed July 2, 2016).

  • Mâciu, M., Chioreanu, A., Văcaru, V., Posea, G., Ielenicz, M., Pătroescu, M., Velcea, I., Pişota, I. 1982. Romania’s Geographic Encyclopedia. “Editura Științifică și Enciclopedică” Publisher, Bucharest, Romania (in Romanian).

  • Mosa, K.A., Saadoun, I., Kumar, K., Helmy, M., Dhankher, O.P. 2016. Potential Biotechnological Strategies for the Cleanup of Heavy Metals and Metalloids. Front. Plant Sci. 7:303. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00303.

  • Ogoyi, D.O., Mwita, C.J., Nguu, E.K., Shiundu, P.M. 2011. Determination of heavy metal content in water, sediment and microalgae from Lake Victoria, East Africa. Open Environ. Eng. J. 4, 156–161. DOI: 10.2174/1874829501104010156.

  • Panagos, P., Van Liedekerke, M., Yigini, Y., Montanarella, L. 2013. Contaminated Sites in Europe: Review of the Current Situation Based on Data Collected through a European Network. J. Environ. Public Health 2013:158764. DOI: 10.1155/2013/158764.

  • Pascariu, M.C., Ciobotaru, A.L., Tulucan, T., Ștefănuț, M.N., Cătă, A., Fițigău, I.F., Ienașcu, I. 2013. Romanian Pharmacopoeia versus atomic spectrometry as analysis tools for heavy metal content in some water sources from the western and south-western part of Romania. Arad Medical Journal XVI(1–4), 91–99.

  • Povară, I., Ponta, G. 2010. Geology and hydrogeology of the Jiul de Vest – Cernișoara Basins, Romania. Carbonates Evaporites 25, 117–126. DOI: 10.1007/s13146-010-0017-2.

  • Roig, N., Sierra, J., Moreno-Garrido, I., Nieto, E., Pérez Gallego, E., Schuhmacher, M., Blasco, J. 2016. Metal bioavailability in freshwater sediment samples and their influence on ecological status of river basins. Sci. Total Environ. 540, 287–296. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.06.107.

  • Romanian Government. 2004. Law no. 311 from June 28, 2004, http://www.rowater.ro/dacrisuri/Documente%20Repository/Legislatie/gospodarirea%20apelor/LEGE%20311_28.06.2004.pdf (accessed July 2, 2016) (in Romanian).

  • Romanian Government. 2006. Order no. 161 from February 16, 2006, http://www.rowater.ro/dacrisuri/Documente%20Repository/Legislatie/gospodarirea%20apelor/ORD.%20161_16.02.2006.pdf (accessed July 2, 2016) (in Romanian).

  • Romanian Pharmacopoeia, 10th edition. 1993. Bucharest, Romania (in Romanian).

  • Rose, N.L., Cogălniceanu, D., Appleby, P.G., Brancelj, A., Fernández, P., Grimalt, J.O., Kernan, M., Lami, A., Musazzi, S., Quiroz, R., Velle, G. 2009. Atmospheric contamination and ecological changes inferred from the sediment record of Lacul Negru in the Retezat National Park, Romania. Adv. Limnol. 62, 319–350. DOI: 10.1127/advlim/62/2009/319.

  • Tchounwou, P.B., Yedjou, C.G., Patlolla, A.K., Sutton, D.J. 2012. Heavy Metal Toxicity and the Environment. In.: Luch, A. (ed.) Molecular, Clinical and Environmental Toxicology. Volume 3: Environmental Toxicology. Springer Basel, 133–164. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-7643-8340-4_6.

  • Tulucan, A.D., Tulucan, T.N., Beke, L. 1999. Alpine Karst in Romania. Acta carsologica 28(1), 139–147.

  • Ujvári, I. 1972. The Geography of Romanian Waters. “Editura Științifică” Publisher, Bucharest, Romania, p. 371 (in Romanian).


Journal + Issues