Document Type: Original Research Paper

Authors

1 University of Port Harcourt

2 Department of Geology, Univerity of Port Harcourt

3 University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria

4 Department of Geology, University of Port Harcourt

10.22044/jme.2020.10181.1956

Abstract

In this study, the chemical composition of water and soils contiguous to two abandoned coal mines in southeastern Nigeria, was assessed to evaluate the impact of water flow from the mines ponds on the geoenvironment and potential for acid mine drainage (AMD). Parameters including the pH, anions and cations, and the heavy metals were measured. These were used to evaluate contamination/pollution using hybrid factors including Pollution Load Index, factors, enrichment factors, pollution load index and index of geoaccumulation. The pH range of 3.4 to 5.9 classified the water as weakly to strongly acidic, typical of AMD. The SO42– ion, which indicates pollution by mine waters, showed moderate to high concentrations. Iron, zinc lead and copper were the most abundant heavy metals. Pollution Load Index values were greater than unity which show progressive deterioration in water and sediment quality. The Enrichment Factor values of up to 1 indicated enrichment through lithogenic and anthropogenic sources. The mine dumps serve as pools that can release toxic heavy metals into the water bodies by various processes of remobilization. Based on the lithology, mineralogy, chemical concentrations and environmental factors, the study has shown that there exists a potential for the generation of AMD. The heavy metals enriched mine flow, especially iron, empty into the nearby water bodies which serve as sources of municipal water supply. Consumption of untreated water over a prolonged period from these water sources may be detrimental to health. Remedial measure and continuous monitoring are recommended for good environmental stewardship.

Keywords