Quantification of potential elemental impact of a munitions production and testing facility on its immediate surroundings
Janse van Rensburg, Unique
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The study attempted to quantify the elemental concentrations and possible accumulation levels in the antelope's organ tissue at Rheinmetal Denel Munitions (RDM), as well as to correlate the findings with the surrounding environment. To achieve this, the elemental concentrations within the kidney, liver and lung tissue of the antelope, and environmental factors such as the soil, vegetation and waterholes were quantified. STATISTICA was used to determine meaningful differences between variables and Canoco to determine the relationship between the different datasets. PCA analyses of the vegetation confirmed that the natural slope at RDM could have contributed to the distribution and variation of the elemental concentration. It became apparent that positive associations existed between the liver tissue and the K, the kidney tissue and Ni and Cd, and the lung tissue had a positive association with Mg, Mn, V, Rb and Co elemental concentrations. It became evident in this study that the elemental concentrations of Al and Ni were higher in the liver and kidney tissue of the antelope than the recommended concentration for livestock (Puls, 1994). The elemental concentration of Al, Ca, Fe and Mn also exceeded the recommended elemental concentration for livestock, in the water sampled at RDM (Puls, 1994). Four distinct areas were identified within the study area, the area above the factory, the area under the factory, the testing area and the area under the factory. Significant differences between the testing area and the area under the factory were found regarding the Tl, Ag, Hg and B elemental concentrations in the vegetation. Furthermore, it became apparent that the amount of precipitation could have contributed to the variation of the elemental concentrations and distribution in the study area as well as in the organ tissue of the antelope.