Heavy metal contamination in the High Arctic is a growing concern. Cadmium and lead are recognized by the Canadian Government as metals of concern but little research has been done on small point sources such as municipal waste disposal sites. In 2003 a study was conducted near Resolute, Nunavut, Canada (74°43′N, 95°55′W) to determine the extent of cadmium and lead leaching from a local dumpsite which lay adjacent to a large late-lying snowbed. Three transects (reaching ∼700 m in length) were established downslope from the waste site and water and soil samples were collected for metal analysis at regular intervals. Information on snowbed retreat, water table position, soil moisture conditions and frost table decline were also obtained. Cadmium levels in water samples exceeded government guidelines and along one transect increased with distance. Little lead in surface waters supports the notion that it does not travel easily in soil solution. Overall, soil cadmium and lead levels were low and did not exceed government guidelines. Some spatial patterns did emerge and can be linked to variations in water flow patterns, nearness to the dumpsite and ground cover conditions.

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