Assessment of heavy metal pollution in drinking water due to mining and smelting activities in Ajaokuta, Nigeria
Mining and smelting activities are the main causes for the increasing pollution of heavy metals from water sources. The toxicity of these heavy metals from the mining, milling and smelting companies can cause harmful and even lethal effects on the human health. The objective of this study was to investigate the level of As, Cr, Zn, Mg, Fe, Pb, Cd, Cu, Ag and Mn in well and tap water and assess the degree of pollution in the study area. Atomic Absorption Spectrometry investigation was carried out on 60 samples of water (Well and Tap) collected within and outside the mining and smelting area of Ajaokuta to determine the extent of these heavy metals contamination in their drinking water. The data of heavy metal concentrations reveal that the area has been slightly contaminated with the heavy metals, with As and Cr having the highest level of contamination. Correlation analysis between the selected heavy metals was conducted to further investigate the relationship between the metals. The result shows that these selected metals have common pollution sources related to the mining and smelting activities in the area.
Keywords: Heavy metals, atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS), smelting, pollution, well water