To assess the effects of Fe(III) and anthropogenic ligands on the bioavailability of Ni, Cu, Zn, and Pb, concentrations of bioavailable metals were measured by the DGT (diffusive gradients in thin films) method in some urban rivers, and were compared with concentrations calculated by a chemical equilibrium model (WHAM 7.0). Assuming that dissolved Fe(III) (<0.45 μm membrane filtered) was in equilibrium with colloidal iron oxide, the WHAM 7.0 model estimated that bioavailable concentrations of Ni, Cu, and Zn were slightly higher than the corresponding values estimated assuming that dissolved Fe(III) was absent. In contrast, lower levels of free Pb were predicted by the WHAM 7.0 model when dissolved Fe(III) was included. Estimates showed that most of the dissolved Pb was present as colloidal iron–Pb complex. Ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid (EDTA) concentrations at sampling sites were predicted from the relationship between EDTA and the calculated bioavailable concentration of Zn. When both colloidal iron and predicted EDTA concentrations were included in the WHAM 7.0 calculations, dissolved metals showed a strong tendency to form EDTA complexes, in the order Ni > Cu > Zn > Pb. With the inclusion of EDTA, bioavailable concentrations of Ni, Cu, and Zn predicted by WHAM 7.0 were different from those predicted considering only humic substances and colloidal iron.

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