The objectives of this study are to use different approaches to assess the current pollution status in the wadis of the Kebir Rhumel basin. First, sediment trace metal contents were measured by flame atomic absorption spectroscopy. Then, sediment quality was assessed on the basis of contamination assessment indexes such as: Geoaccumulation Index (Igeo), Contamination factor (Cf), Contamination degree (Cd), Sediment Pollution Index (SPI) and SEQ guidelines (Consensus Sediment Quality Guidelines). In addition, several toxicity tests (Daphnia magna mobility inhibition acute test-48 h, Aliivibrio fischeri luminescence inhibition acute test – 15/30 mn and Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata growth inhibition chronic test – 72 h) were conducted to assess sediment pore water ecotoxicity. Trace metal concentrations followed the order: Mn > Zn > Pb > Cr > Cu > Ni > Co > Cd. Indexes used indicate varying degrees of sediment quality. Igeo, Cf, Cd and SPI reveal a polymetallic contamination dominated by two or more elements in which Cd, Cu and Pb are of greatest concern. SEQ guidelines showed that biological effects on fauna would likely be observed occasionally and/or frequently for Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn contents. Test organisms exposed to sediment pore water showed that the algal P. subcapitata test was more sensitive than the D. magna and A. fischeri tests. Hence, algal growth inhibition proved to be the most sensitive response to contaminants present in sediment extracts but a significant relationship with trace metal contents was not demonstrated.
Keywords: bioassays battery, contamination indexes, pore water, sediment, trace metal