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Evaluation of Bottom Sediment Qualities in Ihetutu Minefield, Ishiagu, Nigeria

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: Bottom sediment qualities in Ihetutu minefield were assessed to ascertain the impact of Pb-Zn mining activities on the sediments from streams, rivers and ponds in the area. Levels of Cu, Zn, Fe, Ni, Mn, Pb, Cd and Cr and some physico-chemical parameters were measured in bottom sediments taken from four sampling stations (streams mine pits) within Ihetutu minefield of Ishiagu which receives discharges from mining and human activities, and a control sampling station in Uturu (about 12 km away from study area). The study was conducted in four seasons (Rainy, Late Rainy, Dry, and Late Dry Seasons). Sample digestion was done with a temperature adjustable block digester. Heavy metal analysis was carried out with Flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer (FAAS) while other physico-chemical parameters were determined with standard field and laboratory procedures. Ranges of mean values of results obtained were; pH = 5.81 - 6.44, EC = 269.00 - 1545.00 μS cm, Cl&#8722 = 43.30 - 112.33 mg kg, alkalinity = 0.70 - 1.25 mg kg, NO3- = 5.90 - 7.90 mg kg, TOC = 0.81 - 1.75 mg kg, TOM = 1.40 - 3.02 mg kg, Cu = 4.74 - 50.93 mg kg, Zn = 26.78 - 57.07 mg kg, Fe = 1066.19 - 1764.05 mg kg, Mn = 36.66 - 42.96 mg kg, Ni = 4.02 - 17.19 mg kg, Pb = 38.01 - 162.23 mg kg, Cd = 1.01 - 25.90 mg kg, and Cr = 1.23 - 1.62 mg kg. Assessment of heavy metals pollution, using pollution indices revealed that Contamination factor ranged from moderate to very high degree of contamination while Pollution load index also showed a deterioration of bottom sediment qualities. Geoaccummulation index indicated moderate to very high pollution, especially with Cu, Zn, Pb, and Cd in the mine pit, while Enrichment factor indicated high enrichments and inputs from anthropogenic sources especially, the Pb-Zn mining activities. Pollution of the area by heavy metals was in the order of Fe > Pb > Zn > Mn > Cu > Ni > Cd > Cr. Highest positive correlation (r = 0.992) was between Pb and Cu while the highest negative correlation (r = &#87220.789) was between Ni and Mn. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) at significance level, α = 0.05, showed no statistically significant differences in the sampling stations (p > 0.05). Compared to background (control), DPR and other standard guidelines values, bottom sediments from Ihetutu minefield were highly polluted with Pb, Zn and Cu especially at the mine site. The overall results from the study revealed that toxic substances released from the prolonged Pb-Zn mining activities in the study area have impacted negatively on the bottom sediments, thereby also possibly deteriorating the quality of lives of the bottom sediments dwelling organisms in the streams, rivers, and pits ponds in the area.

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