In the context of rapid economic growth in China, hydrochemical characteristics of stream water quality are being influenced by a variety of natural and anthropogenic inputs. We determined 10 hydrochemical parameters of the surface water at 29 monitoring sites in the Luan River basin of northern China during 2007–2009. Water quality hydrochemistry was evaluated using fuzzy comprehensive analysis based on the National Surface Water Environmental Quality Standards of China. Our results showed that 14 sites were classified as ‘meeting standard (MS)’ while the other 15 sites were classified ‘non-meeting standard (NS)’. According to principal component analysis, four potential pollution sources were identified that explained 80.6% of the total variance among these MS sites, and three potential pollution sources that explained 78.3% of the total variance among these NS sites. Furthermore, multi-linear regression of the absolute principal component scores was used to estimate contributions from identified pollution sources. Most water pollution variables were influenced primarily by municipal sewage and non-point pollution in MS sites. In NS sites, chemical industry wastewater pollution dominated. Pollution in the main stream was more serious than that in the small tributaries. Our findings provide useful information for developing better pollution control strategies for the Luan River.

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