Assessment of the Quality of Water Around the Mining Town, of Obuasi, Ghana

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Samples of water consumed domestically from sources, such as well, boreholes, pipe borne, streams/ springs and rivers were collected from the mining town of Obuasi and its environs. Sites within the Obuasi township from where samples were collected included Dunkwa Nkwanta, Bogobiri, Abankrom, Jimi Pump Station, Tutuka (Kwabena Krah), Tutuka (Sampsonkrom), Anyinam, Tutuka (Asikafoambantam), AGC Farms, Pompo river (Delivery point), Akapoli, and Ghana Water Company pipe borne at delivery point. Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS) technique was used to determine levels of heavy metals such as Hg, Pb, Zn, and Fe. Other methods including colorimetry, turbidimetry were used to determine levels of parameters such as cyanide, nitrate, sulphate, total dissolved solids, dissolved oxygen, total hardness, total alkalinity and turbidity. Analysis of the samples obtained from the above - named sites indicated that the average levels of mercury ranged between 0.0000-0.0075 mg/L, that of lead ranged between 0.0137- 0.0363 mg/L, that for zinc ranged between 0.0403- 0.2589 mg/L. The average levels of iron ranged between 0.1097- 24.5900 mg/L. In all the samples, level of cyanide was not within detectable limit. The average levels of nitrate ranged between 0.146-1.489 mg/L and that of sulphate between 0.051-1.235 mg/L. Similarly, average levels of total dissolved solids ranged between 43.3-297 mg/L; that of total hardness was 19.87- 44.1 mg/L; and that of total alkalinity ranged between 6.1-154.4 mg/L. Turbidity values ranged between 0-71.7 NTU. The highest mean value obtained for levels of almost all the parameters monitored fell below the WHO recommended value, except mercury in the water sample at AGC Farms (0.0075 mg/L); iron in the sample at Tutuka Asikafoambantam (24.5900 mg/L) and turbidity in samples at AGC Farms (71.7 NTU). Beside these exceptions, and from the physico-chemical considerations, water from these sites is fit for drinking and other domestic uses.
A thesis presented to the Department of Chemistry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment for the award of the Master of Science degree in Analytical Chemistry, 2009