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Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 823; doi:10.3390/su9050823

Assessment of Spatial Variation of Groundwater Quality in a Mining Basin

1
Department of Civil Engineering, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
2
Department of Geological Science and Institute of Coastal Science and Policy, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 24 March 2017 / Revised: 9 May 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 15 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

Assessment of groundwater quality is vital for the sustainable safe use of this inimitable resource. However, describing the overall groundwater quality condition—particularly in a mining basin—is more complicated due to the spatial variability of multiple contaminants and the wide range of indicators found in these areas. This study applies a geographic information system (GIS)-based groundwater quality index (GQI) to assess water quality in a mining basin. The study synthesized nine different water quality parameters available—nitrate, sulphate, chloride, sodium, magnesium, calcium, dissolved mineral solids, potassium, and floride ( NO 3 , SO 4 2 , Cl , Na + , Mg 2 + , Ca 2 + , DMS, K + and F )—from 90 boreholes across the basin by indexing them numerically relative to the World Health Organization standards. The study compared data from 2006 and 2011. The produced map indicated a lower GQI of 67 in 2011 compared to 72 in 2006. The maximum GQI of 84.4 calculated using only three parameters ( Mg 2 + , K + and F ) compared well with the GQI of 84.6 obtained using all nine parameters. A noticeable declining groundwater quality trend was observed in most parts of the basin, especially in the south-western and the northern parts of the basin. The temporal variation between the GQIs for 2006 and 2011 indicated variable groundwater quality (coefficient of variation = 15–30%) in areas around the mining field, and even more variability (coefficient of variation >30%) in the south-western and eastern parts of the basin. View Full-Text
Keywords: assessment; groundwater quality; GIS; GQI; spatial variation assessment; groundwater quality; GIS; GQI; spatial variation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Alexander, A.C.; Ndambuki, J.; Salim, R.; Manda, A. Assessment of Spatial Variation of Groundwater Quality in a Mining Basin. Sustainability 2017, 9, 823.

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