The Kandy lake, situated in the heart of Sri Lanka's second largest city with a population of nearly 120,000, has been monitored to probe the extent of heavy metal pollution. Although the lake is a source of drinking water to the city, a large number of effluent canals drain into the lake carrying a continuous flow of industrial and domestic waste matter. A total of 66 surface water samples were analyzed for their Fe2+, total Fe, total V, SO 4 2− , Cd2+, and Pb2+ contents.

The mid-canal of Kandy, a 8-km effluent canal that runs through the city, collects massive quantities of domestic, municipal, and agricultural waste products. In this study, 37 samples from canal water and 13 from nearby drinking water wells were analyzed for their total Pb, Cd, V, Fe, and ferrous ion content. The following average values for the canal water were recorded: Pb, 269 μg/liter; Cd, 138 μg/liter; V, 18 μg/liter; total Fe, 4 mg/liter. These values indicate the relative levels of metal input from the effluent sources of the city of Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka.