Metal and microbial contamination of agricultural soil and the Veldwachters River, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Surface water is used as a source of water supply in many countries, including South Africa. One of the sources of surface water pollution is leachate and surface runoff from landfills. In agricultural soils, the landfill runoff and leachate deteriorate the quality and affect the fertility of soil. The entry of metals and microorganisms from landfill leachate to adjacent environments is through surface runoff due to rainfall. Adverse effects on human- and environmental health triggers a need to monitor and control contaminants in the environment. The aims of the study are to determine the effect of landfill runoff and leachate on agricultural soil and river water (Veldwachters River) running adjacent to the Devon Valley landfill site and to identify potential metal-tolerant organisms in environmental samples collected in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa. Samples (agricultural soil, river water and sediments) were collected once a month for a period of six months from the study area for analysis. Physicochemical parameters that are known to have major effects on environmental samples were assessed and the concentrations of various metals (Al, Pb, Cr, Mn, Mo, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Fe, Cd and V) were also determined by means of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Soil texture analysis was tested in order to monitor the metal distribution in soils under the influence of environmental factors.
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