Physico-Chemical and Microbiological Quality of Surface Waters Within the Newmont Ghana Gold Mining Concession Areas

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The physico-chemical and Microbiological quality of the surface waters within the Newmont Gold Mines Concession area were assessed for the levels of Total coliforms, faecal coliforms, pH, electrical conductivity, Total Dissolved Solids, Total Suspended Solids, Cyanide, Arsenic, Iron among others. A total of 8 sampling sites were sited along rivers, streams and proposed pits over a period of six months (from March 2005 to August 2005). The results of the study revealed a high microbial indicator counts in all the water bodies suggesting high bacterial pollution of the waters. This was found to have come partly and indirectly from the Mines since the sources of the bacterial contamination could be traced to accidental leakages from the sewage treatment plants (STPs I and II), settlements along these river courses (resettlement villages), population explosion in this mining area with its attendant high waste generation, poor or non-existence sewage system coupled with poor sanitary conditions all contributed immeasurably to the high incidence of bacterial pollution of the water bodies. The research findings also made it abundantly clear that Arsenic, Lead and Iron were the most prevalent mining- related metallic pollutants found in all the water bodies investigated and that the contamination of these heavy metals could primarily be attributed to natural geological and climatological conditions but not from the mines as full scale production had not begun at the time this study was being conducted. However, the high Turbidity and Total Suspended Solids values recorded in all the water bodies could be blamed on the various activities of the Mines.
A Thesis Submitted To The Department Of Theoretical And Applied Biology, College Of Science Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science And Technology, In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements For The Award Of Master of Science Degree In Environmental Science.By Asamoah-Boateng Emmanuel Kofi (Bed.Agric)