African Journal of Aquatic Science

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Heavy metal concentrations in water and sediment of the Steelpoort River, Olifants River System, South Africa

A Addo-Bediako, K Matlou, E Makushu


Steelpoort River has been adversely affected by human activities in the catchment. Water and sediment quality of the river was assessed in 2015. The concentrations of some of the metals in water were found to be high and exceeded the guideline values and the concentrations of metals in sediment were found exceeding the guideline values for Cr, Cu and Zn. The high concentrations of Cu and Zn at Site 1 and Site 2 (upstream) could have originated from anthropogenic sources, such as fertilisers and pesticides from discharge of agricultural wastes, whereas the high concentrations of Cr at Site 3, Site 4 (midstream) and Site 5 (downstream) could have originated from the mine waste, and from domestic/ industrial wastes respectively. The principal component analysis results showed two main components: PC-1 with high positive loading of Cu and Mn, and PC-2 with high positive loading of Zn. These findings indicate the presence of pollution. Therefore, control measures should be implemented to reduce river contamination from anthropogenic sources.

Keywords: anthropogenic sources, fertilisers, pesticides, pollution, principal component analysis

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