Physico-chemical and Mineralogical Characterisation of Subsurface Sediments around Gaborone Landfill, Botswana

  • V M Ngole Department of Environmental Science, University of Botswana, Private bag, 0022, Gaborone Botswana
  • O Totolo Department of Environmental Science, University of Botswana, Private bag, 0022, Gaborone Botswana
  • G E Ekosse Department of Geology, University of Botswana, Private bag, 0022, Gaborone Botswana


Studies were carried out on subsurface sediments obtained around the Gaborone landfill area Botswana, in order to characterize their mineralogy and physico-chemistry, appraise any contaminant inputs from the landfill and assess their ability to attenuate contaminants from the landfill. Physico-chemical properties investigated included particle size distribution (PSD), moisture content, bulk density (Db), porosity, surface area, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and cation exchange capacity (CEC). The mineral phases occurring in the subsurface sediments were identified by use of X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) technique. Grain size analyses of the subsurface sediments revealed sandy loam, silty loam, and silt as the main textural classes. The values obtained for Db and porosity is reflective of the textural classes of the different samples. Moisture content values of the studied samples are characteristic of sediments in semi-arid environments. Apart from two samples, which were acidic, others were alkaline. The EC values were indicative of significant amounts of total dissolved salts (TDS) especially along the eastern corner of the landfill. Cation exchange capacity values were relatively low. Minerals identified by XRPD included quartz, microcline, muscovite and kaolinite in bulk subsurface sediments, whereas kaolinite, smectite and /or illite occurred in the clay fractions. Sediment pH, EC and TDS suggests inputs from the landfill. The sediments seem to have a low attenuation capacity as a result of their physico-chemical and mineralogical properties. Further geophysical and hydrogeochemical research is needed to verify if the Gaborone landfill area is environmentally safe.

Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management Vol. 8 (1) 2004: 49 - 53

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eISSN: 2659-1502
print ISSN: 1119-8362