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Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 823;

Assessment of Spatial Variation of Groundwater Quality in a Mining Basin

Department of Civil Engineering, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
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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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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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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