Document Type : Original Research Paper


Department of Mining Engineering, Arak University of Technology, Arak, Iran


The Mighan playa/lake is characterized as a closed catchment. In the recent years, the rapid industrialization and urbanization has resulted in a pollution area in the city of Arak. In this work, we focus on six regions around the playa/lake to study the distribution of heavy metals in the waters and their contamination risk. A total of 32 water samples are analyzed to determine the contamination degree of heavy metals, i.e. Hg, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, and Zn. The heavy metal pollution index, heavy metal evaluation index, and degree of contamination are utilized to assess the pollution extent of these metals. The spatial distribution patterns reveal that the waters in different areas of playa/lake are in a good condition. The island, lake in playa, and the Wastewater Mineral Salts Company are most seriously polluted with Pb, being higher than the standard of drinking water quality limit. Water in the wastewater treatment plant is polluted with Hg and As. The correlation matrix, factor analysis, and cluster analysis are used to support the idea that Pb may be mainly derived from the atmospheric input, and As and Hg from the wastewater treatment plant, agricultural lands, and domestic waste. Many native and migratory birds live in the Mighan playa, which is exposed to heavy metals. Therefore, it is required to monitor heavy metals in the Arak playa and to manage the municipal, industrial, and agricultural activities around it and to reduce them.