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Article – Journal of Environmental Sciences

Journal of Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Volume 2,Issue 4,2016 Pages 129-133

Assessment of Levels of Trace Elements in Sediment and Water in Some Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sites at Tarkwa –Nsuaem Municipality in The Western Region of Ghana
E. Dartey*, K. Sarpong

Trace metal concentrations in water and sediment samples collected from six rivers in some artisanal and small-scale gold mining sites at Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality in the Western Region of Ghana were studied. A total of 70 water and sediment samples were analysed for Mercury (Hg), Arsenic (As) Lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu) and Manganese (Mn) using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS). Four out of the seven trace metals, namely, Hg, As, Pb and Cd in all the water samples examined exceeded their respective WHO maximum acceptable limit in drinking water. In order of decreasing ecological threat, the trace metals investigated can be arranged in the following order: Hg>Cd>As>Cu>Pb>Zn>Mn. The Geo-accumulation index (Igeo) and Contamination factor (Cf) values of sediment indicate that all the rivers studied were heavily contaminated (3<Igeo≤ 4) and uncontaminated to moderately contaminated (0<Igeo≤3) with Hg and Cd respectively. The strong correlation between Hg, As and Cd concentrations in water and sediment samples showed the possibility of sediment acting as a secondary pollution source. High Potential Ecological Risk (PER) index values (332.67≤RI≤649.03) were recorded for the six rivers studied suggesting possible detrimental effect on the health of inhabitants of the community who depend on the rivers for drinking water without prior treatment.

Keywords: Trace Metals; Mining; Geo-Accumulation Index; Potential Ecological Risk;