A field and laboratory study was conducted to assess the origin and mobility of CrVI in Asopos basin in Greece. Sampling was designed in such way as to capture the spatial variability of chromium occurring in sediments and soils in different lithological units in the area. Physicochemical and geochemical characterization of surface agricultural soils obtained from river terraces and river bed sediments was conducted in order to determine the natural background of chromium. Lithologies with strong calcareous, siliceous and ultramafic components were identified using principal component analysis. Laboratory mobility studies quantified the rates of chromium sorption and release from soils and their capacity to adsorb chromium. Heavy metal analysis and local geology study support the hypothesis that the main source of chromium is of geogenic origin. Chromium distribution in Asopos river bed was influenced from the eroded products derived from extensive areas with ultramafic rocks the last 5. Ma. The mobility studies showed that leaching process was very fast and sorption capacity was significant and capable to retain chromium in case of waste release in the river. Finally the mobility of chromium release is limited due to existing attenuation capacity controlled by ferric oxides coatings on the soil and sediments.
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