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Assessment of Potentially Toxic Elements as Non-Point Sources of Contamination in the Upper Crocodile Catchment Area, North-West Province, South Africa

1
Department of Geography and Environmental Science, North-West University, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa
2
Centre for Applied Radiation Science and Technology, North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 576; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040576
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
The concentration of potential toxic elements (PTEs) in the Upper Crocodile river catchment area in North-west Province, South Africa, was investigated. Water and sediment samples were collected among different land uses in the upper Crocodile River catchment area and analysed using inductively-coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP–MS). Several guidelines were used to gauge the level of contamination and possible toxic effect of PTEs. The physicochemical analysis showed that electrical conductivity (EC), pH, and total dissolved solids (TDS) values complied with the recommended values of Department of Water and Forestry (DWAF) guidelines for South Africa. The average concentration of Cu, Pb, Cd, Zn, As, Cr, Al, and Mn in the water samples were lower than the recommended levels for water-quality guidelines for aquatic environments except for Fe, which exceeded the recommended values of DWAF of 0.1 mg/L and EPA (US) of 0.3 mg/L. The level of contamination was measured using the enrichment factor, contamination factor, and geoaccumulation index. The level of Cr was above the stipulated threshold limit of the sediment quality guideline for adverse biological effects, suggesting an ecotoxicology risk of anthropogenic origin, which was confirmed by statistical analysis. The non-point sources of PTEs are spatially distributed according to land-use types and are strongly correlated to land use. View Full-Text
Keywords: upper Crocodile River; contamination; river; sediment; risk assessment; land use upper Crocodile River; contamination; river; sediment; risk assessment; land use
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Nde, S.C.; Mathuthu, M. Assessment of Potentially Toxic Elements as Non-Point Sources of Contamination in the Upper Crocodile Catchment Area, North-West Province, South Africa. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 576.

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