British Journal of Earth Sciences Research (BJESR)

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Assessment of Heavy Metal Distribution in Surface Water and Groundwater in The Region of a Salt Mine


Water quality is a big concern for the humankind as it is the most important natural resource. The quality of water is affected by anthropogenic activities carried which could render it unsuitable for human consumption. The present study assessed heavy metal distribution and toxicity in surface and groundwater resources of an area characterized by salt mining from brine ponds. Samples were analyzed for pH, electrical conductivity (EC) elemental compositions of: Ba, Mn, Fe, Cu, Sr, and Zn to assess their spatial distribution, sources, variability, toxicity and possible health risks. Median concentrations of Ba, Mn, Fe, Cu, Sr, and Zn in surface water was: 0.28, 3.63, 2.23, 0.03, 0.14 and 0.05 respectively while for groundwater, median concentration was: 0.65, 0.20, 1.16, 0.03, 0.83 and 0.11 respectively. In terms of suitability, concentrations of Mn, Fe and Sr in surface water, and that of Sr, in groundwater raises some quality concerns since they are all present in concentrations above the permissible limits for drinking water. Results of Corelation and Principal Component Analyses showed that source and mobility of these metals is linked to both geogenic (host rock weathering) and anthropogenic activities mainly associated with salt mining and processing in the region of a saline pond. Spatial distribution of concentration of these metals also shows higher concentrations in the immediate region of the salt mine especially in groundwater.

Keywords: Correlation Analysis, Heavy Metals, Principal Component Analysis, Salt mining, Water Quality

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