Impact Assessment of Small Scale and Illegal Mining Activities – A Case Study of Birim River in Kyebi, East Akim Municipality

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Birim River is a prominent river in the Kyebi municipality in the eastern region of Ghana. It runs through several communities in the municipality including the area under study and serves as the main source of drinking water and for other domestic purposes. An assessment of the quality of water for drinking and other domestic purposes as well as the level of pollution was conducted by determining the levels of some physicochemical parameters (pH, colour, total hardness, sodium, calcium, potassium, fluoride, phosphate, nitrite, nitrate, turbidity, conductivity, temperature, etc), and trace metals (iron, mercury, zinc, nickel, lead, copper, arsenic and manganese) in both water and sediment samples from the river. Samples were taken from the point of main activity at Kyebi as well as upstream at Apapam and downstream at Bunso. The physicochemical parameters were generally within the WHO guidelines and EPA-Ghana permissible limits for drinking water except turbidity at downstream (171NTU), colour at both mid and downstream (58.5-85.8colour unit) respectively, pH (7.70) at upstream, total dissolved solids up and midstream (64.90-72.13mg/l), chloride also at all the sampling points (5.8667-6.267mg/l). With respect to the trace metals, iron (0.494-4.640mg/l) at all the sites exceeded the WHO permissible limits for drinking water. Water from both midstream and downstream was unsuitable for drinking and other domestic purpose.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science, May-2013