Pollution and health risk assessment of heavy metals in waters around mine sites of Elazig (Eastern Turkey)

Baran H. A., NALBANTÇILAR M. T., Koktan N.

Journal of Mountain Science, vol.20, no.5, pp.1293-1306, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11629-022-7618-9
  • Journal Name: Journal of Mountain Science
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), CAB Abstracts, Environment Index, Geobase, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.1293-1306
  • Keywords: Eastern Turkey, GIS, Heavy metals, Mining, Risk assessment, Water pollution
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: Yes


Turkey’s Eastern Anatolia Region is the oldest known mineral mining area of Maden and Alacakaya. Chromite production in the Alacakaya field constitutes 50% of the country’s exports, and copper mines in the Maden region account for approximately 12% of the country’s copper production. There is a risk of water pollution due to significant mine waste which affects the Inci and Maden rivers. The water needs of many settlements are met from these streams, which run through these two mine sites. This study investigated the water pollution in the rivers. 25 water samples were collected during the dry and rainy periods, and the Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Li, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr and Zn contents of these samples were examined in terms of health. Evaluation of element concentrations and creation of spatial distribution maps were performed using ArcGIS software. Spatial distribution maps, correlation and cluster analysis indicate that the source of heavy metals observed in waters is mine fields. The heavy metal content of the samples is higher in the dry period, the high concentration values are obtained from the mine sites, the decrease in the concentrations throughout the flow during the rainy period, are indicators of the effect of the mines on the water pollution. As a result of the comparison from the analysis results of water samples with World Health Organization (WHO), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European Commission (EC) standards, the element values of Al, Cr, Fe, Mn, Ni and Pb exceeded the permissible values for health. The concentrations of these elements for dry period samples are: 0–6.411 mg L−1, 0.006–0.235 mg L−1, 0–13.433 mg L−1, 0–0.316 mg L−1, 0–0.495 mg L−1, 0–0.065 mg L−1, and for rainy period samples are 0–1.698 mg/L, 0–0.2 mg L−1, 0–9.033 mg L−1, 0–0.173 mg L−1, 0–0.373 mg L−1, 0–0.034 mg L−1, respectively. Although the waters in the region are polluted by heavy metals, it has been determined that there is no non-carcinogenic hazard as a result of the calculation of the hazard index (HI<1) by ingestion and dermal contact within the scope of human health risk assessment. This study will be beneficial as it draws attention to the prevention of the negative effects of water pollution, which may cause serious health problems in the future as a result of mining activities in the region.