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Title: Influence of mining activities in the North of Potosi, Bolivia on the water quality of the Chayanta river, and its consequences
Authors: Rojas, Jenny C ×
Vandecasteele, Carlo #
Issue Date: Sep-2007
Publisher: Springer
Series Title: Environmental monitoring and assessment vol:132 issue:1-3 pages:321-330
Abstract: Mining activity in the North of Potosi (Siglo XX mine, Ingenio Catavi-Siglo XX, Pucro mine and Colquechaca mine) produces minewater containing high concentrations of heavy metals such as As (0.02-34 mg/l), Cd (45-11,600 mu g/l), Cu (0.35-32 mg/l), Fe (42-1,010 mg/l), Pb(33-3,130 mu g/l), Ni(20-4,320 mu g/l), and Zn (1.1-485 mg/l), that exceed considerably the limit values. The rivers in the North of Potosi (Katiri and Pongoma) that do not receive minewater contain clear water with rather low heavy metal concentrations. These rivers and also other rivers contaminated with minewater, are tributaries of the Chayanta River that transports water with a high concentration of heavy metals such as As (6-24 mu g/l), Cd (260-2,620 mu g/l), Cu (205-812 mu g/l), Pb(10-21 mu g/l) and Ni(110-332 mu g/l). These elements result from mining activity, as indicated by a comparison with rivers not contaminated by minewater discharges. Water of the Chayanta River, used all year long by the population of Quila Quila, (a village situated at about 75 km from the mining centers), for the irrigation of crops such as potato, maize and broad bean, contains heavy metal concentrations exceeding for several elements the guidelines for irrigation. As drinking water the population of Quila Quila consumes spring water with a generally acceptable heavy metal concentration, as well as infiltrated water of Chayanta River (which is also used in animal drinking troughs) with a high concentration of Cd (23-63 mu g/l), exceeding the limit value for drinking water. The metal concentration is significantly lower in the infiltrated water than in the water of Chayanta River. Some technological solutions are suggested to improve the quality of the water used. Surveys carried out on inhabitants of the region, showed that many people present health problems, probably to be attributed to the bad quality of the water they consume and use for irrigation.
URI: 
ISSN: 0167-6369
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Process Engineering for Sustainable Systems Section
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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