JWARP  Vol.9 No.8 , July 2017
Assessment of Surface Water Quality of Bétaré-Oya Gold Mining Area (East-Cameroon)
To assess the water quality in the locality of Bétaré-Oya affected by an intensive artisanal and semi mechanized mining activities, 71 samples were collected from sixteen points during the 2015-2016 hydrological year. These points include: three in Lom river which is the main stream of the study area, five in Mari river which is one of the left bank tributaries of the Lom, in Bétaré-Oya and eight in the left and the right bank of Mari. Different physicochemical parameters such as pH, electrical conductivity (EC), alkalinity, turbidity, total suspended solids (TSS), cyanide (CN-), major elements and heavy metals (Pb, Zn, Cd, Fe, Cu, As, Mn and Cr) were analyzed. Water Quality Indices (WQI), Heavy metal Pollution Index (HPI), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) and percent sodium (Na%) were also computed to evaluate the suitability of water for drinking and irrigation. The results showed that the surface water from Bétaré-Oya was acidic to basic (5.40 < pH < 8.84), weakly mineralized (11.60 < EC < 122.10 μS/cm) with a high concentration of TSS (2 < TSS < 8996.00 mg/L) and turbidity (1.22 to 4758.00 NTU). The WQI scores show excellently to unsuitable quality in almost all the sampling sites. The water quality is found to be most deteriorated in Lom river and in the downstream of Mari river where an extensive mining activity is carried out, with the high WQI value of 5137.40. Based on heavy metal pollution index, the mean value was 1195.36 and thus under the critical pollution index. We thus notice a serious physical degradation by organic and mineral suspended particles as well as chemical degradation by heavy metals. This results from mining activities in the Lom river and its main tributaries such as the Mari river in the upstream part of the Sanaga basin. According to the percentage of sodium and SAR, these waters can be used for irrigation purposes in almost all types of soils.
Cite this paper: Rakotondrabe, F. , Ngoupayou, J. , Mfonka, Z. , Rasolomanana, E. , Nyangono Abolo, A. , Asone, B. , Ako Ako, A. and Rakotondrabe, M. (2017) Assessment of Surface Water Quality of Bétaré-Oya Gold Mining Area (East-Cameroon). Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 9, 960-984. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2017.98064.

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