Dispersion of inorganic contaminants in surface water in the vicinity of Potchefstroom

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 12
  • SDG 6
  • Abstract:

    Potchefstroom and the neighbouring cities rely mostly on the Mooi River and Vaal River for their water needs. These rivers flow through the gold mining areas and farms, and are therefore likely to be contaminated with substantial amounts of inorganic pollutants. Water was collected along the rivers network, streams, canals and dams in Potchefstroom and the vicinity. The samples were characterized for geochemical parameters, metals and anions concentrations. The results showed high concentrations of potentially toxic elements such as As (4.53 mg/L – 5.74 mg/L), Cd (0.25 mg/L – 0.7 mg/L), Pb (1.14 mg/L – 5.13 mg/L) and U (0.04 mg/L – 0.11 mg/L) which were predominantly found around the mining areas. Elevated concentrations of anions such SO42- and CN− were detected around mining areas while NO3− was dominant near farms. The relatively high levels of anions and metals in the surface water made it unfit for domestic or agricultural use. The study showed that contaminants in mining and agricultural facilities were potentially mobilised, thus impacting the nearby water systems