Assessment of Anthropogenic Impact of Surface Water Quality, South Africa

Dipitseng Manamela, Omotayo Awofolu


This article investigates the impact of anthropogenic activities on an important surface water from physico-chemical, chemical and microbial perspectives. The surface water, referred to as Blesbokspruit is in the West Rand District of South Africa. Potential impactors include wastewater treatment plant, mines, farmlands and informal settlements. Water samples were collected from nine purposively selected sampling points and analysed in 2014. The mean values of analysed variables across sampling sites and periods ranged from pH: 7.4-8.4; EC: 93.0 - 146.6 mS/m; TSS: 11.3 – 39.0 mg/L; TDS: 590.3 - 1020.3 mg/L; COD: 15.6- 34.8 mg/L. Those for anions varied from NO3-: 0.2- 2.1 (mg/L) N; PO43- : 0.4-0.9 mg/L and SO42-: 118.6 - 379.5 mg/L. The metallic variables ranged from As: 0.01-0.06 mg/L; Cd: 0.02-0.06 mg/L; Fe: 0.04-0.73 mg/L; Cu: 0.02 – 0.05 mg/L and Zn: 0.05 – 0.15 mg/L. The Faecal coliform varied from 15.9-16878.5 cfu/100 ml; Total coliform: 92.9-430294 cfu/100 ml and HPC from 4322.5-39776 cfu/1ml. Detection of toxic metals and pathogenic organisms above target safety limits indicate unsuitability of the water for domestic use with impact on the health of aquatic ecosystem. The study generally revealed the impact of anthropogenic activities on the surface water quality.

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