Levels of Heavy Metals in Water, Fish and Sediments in Ponds at Yale, a Mining Community in the Talensi District of Upper East Region of Ghana

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Unlike other Small scale gold mining (SSGM) and Artisanal gold mining (AGM) sites (Obuasi, Prestea, Tarkwa, Dunkwa-on-offin) found in Ghana, the severity of heavy metal contamination in water, fish and sediments at Yale has not been thoroughly examined to ascertain the extent of metal contamination, as well as the biogeochemical fate of released heavy metals. Heavy metal (Pb, Fe, Mn, Hg and As) concentration in water, sediments and fish was analysed from a pond at Yale. The pond at Yale is the main source of water for household and farming purposes in the town and surrounding communities. In water Iron recorded high concentrations in both towns reading between 1.703mg/l and 1.760mg/l at Yale –Tarkwa and Yale-Obuasi respectively. Other heavy metals readings were Arsenic 0.084, Manganese 0.035, Lead 0.697, Mercury 0.027 and Arsenic 0.171, Manganese 0.060, Lead 0.062, Mercury 0.014mg/l for Yale-Tarkwa and Yale-Obuasi respectively. All the metals except Mn in water were above WHO standards for drinking water. Heavy metals levels in fish were all above WHO standards. In sediment Arsenic recorded higher value than Iron and the rest of the metals tested for. The activities of small scale and artisanal gold mining is affecting the environment in so many ways, polluting the water bodies and causing land degradation. The concentration of heavy metals in water shows that the water is not safe for drinking. Measures need to be put in place to reduce these activities.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements Master of Science degree in Environmental Science.