Data on the total concentrations of phosphorus, calcium, iron and organic matter in surface bed-sediments taken from rivers in the Thames catchment (Wey, Blackwater, Thame and Kennet), the River Swale in Yorkshire (data excludes the organic matter content) as well as the headwaters of the Great Ouse, are collated and compared. Total concentrations of phosphorus, iron and calcium range from 1.7-649, 12-8333 and 9-4605 mumol g(-1) (dry weight), respectively, with organic matter in the range of 0.6-19% by dry weight. For the Wey, Black-water and Great Ouse, sewage inflows had no detectable effect on the sediment concentrations of total calcium, iron and organic matter whereas for the Blackwater and Great Ouse, the total phosphorus contents of the sediment were higher downstream of the effluent input in comparison with a less impacted upstream location. Relationships between the total phosphorus content of the sediments and contents of iron, calcium and organic matter indicated marked differences between the rivers. Although the organic matter content of the sediments was found to be a significant predictor for the total phosphorus concentration for the Blackwater and Great Ouse, the total iron content was also useful for the Blackwater and total calcium for the Great Ouse. It is postulated that this difference is a result of the sediment processes that are known to occur in these two systems, i.e. co-precipitation of phosphate with calcite in the Great Ouse and the formation of vivianite in anoxic sediments of the Blackwater. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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