Seasonal variations in heavy metals in water and sediment samples from River Tano in the Bono, Bono East, and Ahafo Regions, Ghana

Abstract

Seasonal variations in mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), arsenic (As), copper (Cu), and chromium (Cr) metal concentrations in 36 water and 36 sediment samples from River Tano were studied using Perkin Elmer atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS) between November 2016 and October 2017. Significantly higher metal concentrations were recorded in rainy season than dry season for both water and sediment except for Pb and Cd where sediment concentrations were higher in the dry season. Cu was detected only in the sediment samples. Spatially the source of the river is unpolluted for all the metals in both seasons but the midstream and downstream ends of the river were heavily polluted by Hg, Pb, and Cd. All the heavy metals studied except Zn exceeded the WHO standards for drinking water. In the sediment, Cd, Hg, and Cr concentrations exceeded the USEPA guidelines. Igeo and Concentration Factor analysis revealed unpolluted sediments in terms of Cu, Pb, As, and Cr. They were near the background concentrations but Hg and Cd were in the range of moderate to heavy pollution. All the metals correlated significantly among themselves to signify common source to the water. It thus remains risky to use untreated water from the midstream and downstream of River Tano for domestic purposes. Enforcement of the buffer zone policy is recommended to avert further deterioration of the river water and sediment qualities.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the Ghana Government through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana, for sponsoring this research. Mention is also made of the Ecological Laboratory, Legon, Ghana, for their unflinching support during the analysis of samples.

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Correspondence to A. J. Nyantakyi.

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Nyantakyi, A.J., Akoto, O. & Fei-Baffoe, B. Seasonal variations in heavy metals in water and sediment samples from River Tano in the Bono, Bono East, and Ahafo Regions, Ghana. Environ Monit Assess 191, 570 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-019-7744-1

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Keywords

  • : Freshwater
  • Heavy metals
  • Seasonality
  • Sediment
  • Water
  • River Tano