Concentración de metales en agua y sedimentos de la cuenca alta del río Grijalva, frontera México-Guatemala
This work presents an evaluation of heavy metal concentrations in the upper Grijalva River basin, in micro-basins with rivers that supply water to communities on the Mexico-Guatemala border, representing a possible risk to human health. In addition, given current prospecting activities and interest in developing mining in the near future, this study can provide reference values with which to evaluate the environmental impact of these activities in the region. Metal contents (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb and Zn) were evaluated in surface water and in sediments during the rainy season (August 2011 and June 2012) as well as the dry season (January 2012 and December 2012) in the Xelaju and Bacanton River basins, as well as in the sub-basins of the Allende, Buenos Aires, Molino and Carrizal Rivers. The results were compared with norms corresponding to Mexico and Canada, and in the case of sediments, also with background reference levels in the United States. Concentrations of Hg exceeded the maximum allowable limits established by both norms and the reference levels mentioned, during both the rainy and dry seasons. The results suggest that wastewater from the city of Motozintla de Mendoza discharged into the Xelaju River partially explains the increase in Hg concentrations in the water and sediments. The concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn detected were minimal and did not exceed maximum limits allowed by Mexican norms, although in some cases they exceeded those established by Canadian norms and the United States reference values.