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Determining water and sediment quality related to lead-zinc mining activity
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This study focuses on the Koru and Tesbihdere Pb-Zn mining districts, located at the upstream areas of the Umurbey dam basin. Mining activities in Koru, one of the longest operated mines in NW Turkey, date back to the beginning of the 1900s. The purpose of the study is to (1) determine the hydrochemical properties of the water resources and to assess the potential environmental consequences of mining activities in the Koru and Tesbihdere mining districts, and (2) investigate the effects caused by mining activities on the water resources and sediment quality in the Umurbey dam basin. Concentrations of As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, Pb, and Zn in river sediments downstream of the Tesbihdere and Koru mining district, and in the Umurbey dam sediments were higher than the world average for river sediments. The geoaccumulation index and enrichment factor revealed that sediments were strongly polluted with Pb and Zn, moderately to strongly polluted with Cd and moderately polluted with Cu. The chemical analyses of water resources revealed that the maximum Fe, Zn, Pb, Mn, and Cu concentrations reached 2890 μg/l, 1785 μg/l, 1180 μg/l, 984 μg/l, and 419 μg/l, respectively. The Koru River is classified as polluted water according to Turkish inland water quality regulations. The environmental contamination problems in the local drainage system are caused by leakage from past and current tailing ponds into the Koru River.