The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies' (TES)
Volume 11, Number 2, 2012

ISSN 1602-2297


Water Quality Index in the Tarkwa Gold Mining Area in Ghana


Frederick A. Armah
Department of Environmental Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Ghana: E-Mail: farmah@ucc.edu.gh (Corresponding Author)

Isaac Luginaah
Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, Canada; Email: iluginaa@uwo.ca

Benjamin Ason
CSIR-Soil Research Institute, P.O. Box M 32, Accra, Ghana; Email: annapurnaben@yahoo.com


Abstract: Water quality and human health are inextricable linked. The present study assessed the water quality index (WQI) based on physicochemical analyses of twenty-six ground water sampling stations in the Tarkwa mining municipality in Ghana. In calculating the WQI, seven parameters were considered; pH, nitrate, sulphate, total dissolved solids, chemical oxygen demand, sulphates and turbidity. WQI values range from 100.36 (sampling station B10) to 4294 (sampling station B6). The mean WQI was 825.89 (i.e. 8 times more than the upper limit for potability). All of the groundwater samples exceeded 100, the upper limit for drinking water potability. The high value of WQI at these stations could be attributed to the higher values of total dissolved solids, and turbidity in the groundwater. Approximately 35% of the samples had WQI values which were up to 5 times or more than the threshold value of 100. Fifteen percent of groundwater samples had WQI values more than ten times the threshold for potability. Pearson correlation coefficients among selected water properties showed a number of strong associations. Turbidity correlated strongly with sulphates. Similarly pH showed strong associations with EC, TDS and sulphates. Multivariate statistical (principal component and cluster) analysis suggest that the data is a two-component system that explains approximately two-thirds of the total variance in the data. The analysis reveals that the groundwater of this urban mining area needs some treatment before consumption. .

Keywords: water quality index, mining, multivariate statistics, groundwater, contamination

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