Environmental Management

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 1131–1145 | Cite as

Community Perception of Water Quality in a Mining-Affected Area: A Case Study for the Certej Catchment in the Apuseni Mountains in Romania

  • Diana DogaruEmail author
  • Jürg Zobrist
  • Dan Balteanu
  • Claudia Popescu
  • Mihaela Sima
  • Manouchehr Amini
  • Hong Yang


Mining-contaminated sites and the affected communities at risk are important issues on the agenda of both researchers and policy makers, particularly in the former communist block countries in Eastern Europe. Integrated analyses and expert based assessments concerning mining affected areas are important in providing solid policy guidelines for environmental and social risk management and mitigation. Based on a survey for 103 households conducted in a former mining site in the Certej Catchment of the Apuseni Mountains, western Romania, this study assesses local communities’ perceptions on the quality of water in their living area. Logistic regression was used to examine peoples’ perception on the quality of the main river water and of the drinking water based on several predictors relating to social and economic conditions. The results from the perception analysis were then compared with the measurements of heavy metal contamination of the main river and drinking water undertaken in the same study area. The findings indicate that perception and measurement results for the water quality in the Certej Catchment are convergent, suggesting an obvious risk that mining activities pose on the surface water. However, the perception on drinking water quality was little predicted by the regression model and does not seem to be so much related to mining as to other explanatory factors, such as special mineralogy of rock and soils or improper water treatment infrastructure, facts suggested by the measurements of the contaminants. Discussion about the implications of these joint findings for risk mitigation policies completes this article.


Community risk perception Mining pollution Water quality Western Romania 



This work was financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Romanian Ministry for Education and Research within the framework of the Swiss-Romanian cooperation program on “Environmental Science and Technology in Romania - ESTROM”. JRP grant No IB6120-107015. It was a joint project of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) in Switzerland, the Institute of Geography (IG) in Romania, and the Research Institute for Analytical Instrumentation (ICIA), Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The authors would like to thank the chemical team at ICIA for analyzing and providing water quality data, Mr. Paul Serban for his help with the questionnaire surveys, and Hermine Maersohn for improving English of this article. We also would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and useful suggestions which greatly improved this article. The findings and opinions expressed are the authors’ and should not be attributed to persons who provided assistance with various aspects of the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Dogaru
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jürg Zobrist
    • 2
  • Dan Balteanu
    • 3
  • Claudia Popescu
    • 1
  • Mihaela Sima
    • 3
  • Manouchehr Amini
    • 2
  • Hong Yang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Human GeographyInstitute of Geography of the Romanian AcademyBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag)DübendorfSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Physical GeographyInstitute of Geography of the Romanian AcademyBucharestRomania

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