Assessing the adverse effects of a mixture of AMD and sewage effluent on a sub-tropical dam situated in a nature conservation area using a modified pollution index
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Currently water resources in nature conservation areas are under severe pressure due to external drivers of anthropogenic pollution. There is a lack of monitoring tools to determine water quality status of dams situated in nature reserves receiving a mixture of pollutants over space and time. The present study was conducted over a 12-month period with the aim of applying a modified pollution index (PILD) to determine the water quality and phytoplankton status of the Loskop Dam situated in the Loskop nature reserve, South Africa. From the data generated in the current study, it was evident that the PILD effectively determined nutrient enrichment and heavy metal pollution in the dam. Furthermore, the study showed that the most pollution tolerant phytoplankton species was the diatom Melosira varians followed by the dinoflagellate Ceratuim hirundinella and the cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa. Chemical variables during the sampling period that exceeded the limits of the South African, Canadian, Australia and New Zealand guideline levels were Zn, TP, Cl, Fe, Mn and NH4. The occurrence of concentrations of Cl above the target water quality range for aquatic ecosystems (5 µgl−1) over the entire sampling period, may have been related to point source sewage pollution in the upper catchment. The PILD showed poor water quality conditions during the months of September and October during the dam’s destratification (lake overturn).