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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 472149, 5 pages
Research Article

Heavy Metal Distribution in Opportunistic Beach Nourishment: A Case Study in Greece

1Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, 73100 Chania, Greece
2Analytical and Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, Technical University of Crete, 73100 Chania, Greece
3Department of Civil Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

Received 31 August 2013; Accepted 29 September 2013

Academic Editors: N. Drouiche and F. Gosetti

Copyright © 2013 Spyros Foteinis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The existence and distribution of persistent pollutants, such as heavy metals, in coastal sediment used for opportunistic beach nourishment, is a problem that has not received much attention. Here, we assessed the coastal sediments in one restoration project for the occurrence and distribution of heavy metals, by utilizing an Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) system. Heavy metal point sources included (i) the effluents of small industries (tanneries), (ii) wastewater treatment plant effluents, and (iii) paint and oil scraps from substandard ship maintenance activities that take place on ports breakwaters. A few neighboring beaches were found to have similar heavy metal concentrations, with mean values of Cu, Zn, and Pb ranging from 80 to 130, 15 to 25, and 25 to 40 mg/kg, respectively. Existing legislation regarding dredging activities in Greece appears insufficient for sustainable and environmentally friendly nourishment. We conclude that before opportunistic beach restoration projects materialize with material borrowed from ports and harbors the quality of the dredged material needs to be assessed.