Groundwater is important for either resource usage or safety of coal mining in north China. In this study, concentrations of eight kinds of heavy metals (Pb, Cd, Cu, Ni, Cr, Zn, Fe and Mn) in groundwater from three deep aquifers in the Wolonghu coal mine, northern Anhui Province, China have been analyzed for water quality assessment and water source identification. The results suggest that the groundwater have different concentrations of heavy metals among aquifers, which might be the results of different occurrence forms of heavy metals (e.g. Pb, Cd, Cu and Cr were adsorbed by iron hydroxides) and different kinds of water rock interactions (e.g. Mn and Zn originated from carbonate rocks). In comparison with the groundwater quality standard of China and WHO, most of them cannot be used for drinking directly but must be treated before drinking, especially the Pb, Cd and Fe contents. Moreover, hydraulic connection between aquifers has been identified by plots of factor scores and cluster analysis, which is similar to the results obtained by previous studies. Moreover, discriminant analysis demonstrated that heavy metals can be used for identification the source of inrush water in coal mines.

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