POTENTIALLY HARMFUL TRACE ELEMENTS (PHTES) IN BOREHOLE WATER OF RURAL GREATER GIYANI AREA LIMPOPO PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA: POSSIBLE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS
The objectives of our investigation is to assess concentration levels of PHTEs and their spatial distribution patterns in borehole water in the Greater Giyani area Limpopo, South Africa and the potential associated human health risks thereof. Twenty nine borehole water samples, including 15 community boreholes and 14 primary school boreholes were collected from this area.
The samples were analysed for trace elements such Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Selenium (Se), Lead (Pd) and Uranium (U) using the inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrometry (ICPMS) technique. The concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Se, Pd & U vary from 4.0 to 112.2, 0.2 to 0.9, 10.5 to 69.5, 1.7 to 18.8, 6.0 to 6.7 and 0.4 to 34.1 µg/l respectively. As, Cr, Se and U exceeded South African National Standard (SANS) permissible limits for drinking water in more than one borehole. Nearly 10.3 % of boreholes in the area had arsenic concentration of more than two times SANS permissible limit for drinking water with one sample containing five times more arsenic than the SANS acceptable limit for drinking water. Cadmium displayed low concentration in all sampled boreholes whereas lead was found to be present at limits of detection in 96.6 % of sampled boreholes.
The preliminary results obtained suggest that a significant water quality problem exists in the rural Greater Giyani area and further imply that a certain proportion of the population in the studied area could be at health risk caused by the exposure to PHTEs contaminants.