Assessment of the Potability of Underground Water from a Small Scale Underground Mine: A Case Study

  • Theophilus Joe-Asare University of Mines and Technology
  • M. S. Peprah
  • M. M. Opoku
Keywords: Underground Water, Small Scale Mining, Water Quality, Heavy Metals, Gold


This study sought to investigate the potability of underground water from the Mohammed and Brothers Small Scale Underground Mine in Tarkwa by analysing two samples of the underground water to determine the water’s physico-chemical parameters and the metals concentrations and coliforms in it. The physico-chemical parameters were analysed using Oyster series multi-meter (341350A) and Hydro test HT 1000 photometer. The result showed that the parameters were within the recommended World Health Organisation (WHO) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) limits except for salinity and apparent colour. Analyses for metals and arsenic were conducted using the Varian Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (Varian ASS 240 FS). All the metals analysed were within the standards set by WHO and USEPA but the level of arsenic was above limit. The level of total coliforms and faecal coliforms were determined at the Intertek Service Limited, Tarkwa. The result showed that the levels were within the standards set by WHO and USEPA. The Water Quality Index (WQI) was calculated using the analysed water parameters. High levels of arsenic and salinity in the water renders it unsafe for drinking. Treatment of the water to reduce the arsenic and salinity levels to the standards set by WHO and USEPA will make it suitable for drinking and other domestic purposes.


Keywords: Underground Water, Small Scale Underground Mining, Water Quality, Heavy Metals, Gold 

Author Biography

Theophilus Joe-Asare, University of Mines and Technology
Environmental and Safety Department, Teaching Assistant


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