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Source estimating of heavy metals in shallow groundwater based on UNMIX model: A case study

Author(s): Linhua Sun, Weihua Peng, Chen Cheng

Heavy metals in the groundwater can threaten the health and life of animals and human beings through food chains. In this study, the concentrations of eight kinds of heavy metals (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cr, Cd, Cu, Pb and Ni) of sixty-two shallow groundwater samples from the urban area of Suzhou, northern Anhui Province, China have been measured, and the data have been analyzed by UNMIX model for quantifying their sources. The results indicate that the concentrations of all of the heavy metals except for Mn and Pb can meet the guidelines for drinking water quality of World Health Organization. Four sources, including both anthropogenic sources (related to transportation/centralization and car industry) and geological sources (related to Fe and Mn hydroxides), have been identified by UMIX model, and their contributions for the total heavy metals are 29.3% and 70.7%, respectively. The study demonstrated that the UNMIX model can be applied for estimating the source of heavy metals in groundwater. Moreover, the study showed that more attention should be paid to the heavy metals (especially Zn and Cr) in the shallow groundwater in the study area because they have been affected by human activities

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