An Evaluation of the Cumulative Surface Water Pollution on Selected Areas within the Consolidated Main Reef Area, Roodepoort, South Africa

ABSTR ACT: Mining has long been at the center of the South African economy and has contributed to significant developments within the country. However, despite the large economic impact, surface water pollution due to mining is prevalent in most of the country’s water catchments. Surface water in many areas of the central Roodepoort area in Johannesburg, South Africa, has also been impacted primarily by mining activities. The surface water quality for the Bosmontspruit, Russell’s Stream, and the New Canada Dam was assessed in this study from October 2010 to March 2011. Physicochemical and biological characteristics of the water were determined for eight monitoring points, and the results obtained were compared with the in-stream water quality guidelines for the Klip River catchment and the South African Water Quality Guidelines. A trend noticed throughout the sampling period was the noncompliance to the set target water quality ranges (TWQRs) in the levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) and dissolved oxygen (DO). The results indicate that concentrations of iron, aluminum, nickel, manganese, and potassium were above the permissible limits across the Bosmontspruit and Russell’s Stream. Excessive fecal coliforms and ammonium pollution were also detected in the Bosmontspruit. Additionally, during the monitoring period, it was noted that the water was being utilized for domestic purposes, and may pose health hazards due to poor water quality.

KEY WORDS: acid mine drainage, cumulative pollution, tailings, water pollution, water quality

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