Arsenic Contamination of Soil in Relation to Water in Northeastern South Africa

Part of the Advances in Water Security book series (AWS)


Little is known about the arsenic contamination of soil in relation to water in South Africa. In fact, there is a gap in knowledge about the topic as far as Africa as a whole is concerned. This chapter addresses the limited information on the presence and threat of arsenic in South Africa’s environment. The focus of this chapter is on soil (and indirectly water) contamination in the former Venda tribal area in northeastern South Africa where for many decades the apartheid government used arsenic-based dip solutions to treat East Coast Fever among cattle. Soil samples taken at 5-m, 20-m and 100-m at a depth of 300-mm from 10 old dip tanks revealed 11 readings above 2.0 mg/kg and 2 readings above 30 mg/kg. We found that these old contaminated dip sites were not rehabilitated and that houses are now being built as close as 50-m from the centers of contamination. It is clear that the problem of arsenic contamination of soil and water in South Africa, a water scarce country, deserve more attention from researchers and the various levels of government.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of South AfricaFloridaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Environmental StudiesUniversity of LimpopoPolokwaneSouth Africa

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