Main Article Content
Representative groundwater samples were collected from the Kaffe community and environs to evaluate the concentrations and geochemical constraints for mobilizing cadmium (Cd) and selected heavy metals. Field-based in-situ measurements of physicochemical parameters were combined with Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer analysis of dissolved elemental concentrations. Pollution indices (i.e. heavy metal pollution index; HPI, heavy metal evaluation index; HEI, contamination degree; Cd, metal index; MI, synthetic pollution index; SPI, ecological risk index; ERI and Nemerow index; NI) evaluations highlighted the levels of heavy metals in the groundwater. Cadmium and iron (Fe) concentrations exceeded the recommended limits in 97% of the analysed samples, with an average pH of 6.3. Strong positive correlations were observed between cadmium and the computed pollution indices (p 0.774 to p 0.100), suggesting significant Cd pollution of the groundwater. Components analysis grouped Cd, Fe, and the pollution indices in the first PC. This was favourably compared to the correlation analysis result. Cluster analysis categorized Cd, Zn and pH in the first cluster consistent with the suggested dissolution and enrichment of Cd and Zn in the groundwater under similar geochemical conditions. The study area is medium and moderately polluted based on HPI, HEI, Cd, and NI.