Physicochemical and bacteriological analyses of underground water resources in Nkanu East and Nkanu West Local Government Areas of Enugu state,  Nigeria were carried out to evaluate the potability and quality of the rural water supplies and to provide baseline data for future quality assessment. Underground water samples were collected from ten different boreholes in Nkanu East and Nkanu West LGAs. The parameters measured include temperature, colour, pH, electrical conductivity, turbidity, total dissolved solids, total hardness, calcium hardness, magnesium hardness, total alkalinity, chloride, sulphate, phosphate, nitrate, sodium, potassium, lead, chromium, copper, cadmium, nickel, iron, zinc and total coliform. The water showed near neutral pH (6.4- 8.2) favourably comparable to the WHO recommended range of 6.5-8.5, with moderate permanent hardness of 2.5-289 mg/L. Conductivity and total dissolved solids values for Amechi Idodo (4360 μs/cm, 2650 mg/L) and Mbulu Owo (4880 μs/cm, 2930 mg/L) were higher than the WHO guideline values of 1660 μs/cm and 1000 mg/L, respectively. Concentrations of most trace metals and all anions were below the WHO guideline values. However, iron,cadmium and chromium occurred at levels slightly above the WHO permissible limit. Total coliform count in Amechi Idodo and Mbulu Owo exceeded the WHO guideline value of zero. The underground waters studied are good for drinking provided they are boiled to remove microbial contamination.


Title Page        i   

Approval Page        ii

Certification        iii

Dedication        iv

Acknowledgement        v

Abstract        vi

Table of Contents          vii    

List of Tables        xi   

List of Figures        xii


1.0    Introduction        1

1.1 Underground water quality        1

1.2 Background of Study        2

1.3 Scope of Study        3

1.4 Objective of Study        4


2.0    Literature Review        5

2.1 Water        5

2.1.1 Properties of water        5

2.1.2 Uses of Water         6

2.2 Types of water resources        7

2.2.1 Underground water        7

2.2.2 Surface water        8

2.2.3 Water in the atmosphere        12

2.3 Pollution         12

2.3.1 Water pollution        13 Organic pollutants        13 Inorganic pollutants        15 Sediments pollutants         16 Radioactive materials         16 Thermal pollutants         17

2.3.2 Underground water pollution/pollutant         17 Point-source pollution         19 Non-point source pollution        19 Chemical pollution        21 Biological pollution        22 Physical/Natural pollution         24

2.4 Water Analysis         25

2.4.1 Physical examination        25 Temperature         25 Turbidity         25 pH        27 Total dissolved solids         27 Conductivity        28 Colour        28

2.4.2 Chemical examination         28 Hardness         28 Alkalinity        30 Calcium        30 Magnesium        31 Chloride        31 Nitrate        31 Phosphate        32 Potassium        32 Sulphate        33 Sodium        33 Cadmium        34 Chromium        35 Copper        36 Iron        37 Lead        38 Nickel        38 Zinc        39

2.4.3 Microbiological examination     `    39


3.0    Materials and Methods         41

3.1 Sample collection        41

3.2 Method of analysis         43

3.2.1 Turbidity         43

3.2.2 Temperature         43

3.2.3 Colour        43

3.2.4 Total dissolved solid         43

3.2.5 pH        44

3.2.6 Conductivity        44

3.2.7 Total alkalinity        44

3.2.8 Total hardness        45

3.2.9 Calcium        46

3.2.10 Magnesium        47

3.2.11 Chloride        47

3.2.12 Nitrate        48

3.2.13 Sulphate        49

3.2.14 Phosphate        49

3.2.15 Sodium        50

3.2.16 Potassium        50

3.2.17 Heavy metals determination         51

3.2.18 Bacteriological examination        52


4.0 Results and Discussions        53

4.1 Turbidity        55

4.2 Colour        55

4.3 Conductivity        57

4.4 Total dissolved solid        57

4.5 pH        58

4.6 Total hardness, calcium hardness and magnesium hardness        59

4.7 Total alkalinity        61

4.8 Nitrate        62

4.9 Phosphate        62

4.10 Sulphate        63

4.11 Chloride        63

4.12 Sodium and potassium        64

4.13 Heavy metals        67

4.14 Total coliform        69

Conclusion and Recommendation         69

References         71


1.0    Introduction

1.1 Underground water quality

Water is the matrix of life and forms the bulk of the weight of the living cells. The resources of usable water have been diminishing and are unable to meet the variety of needs of modern civilization. Water as the carrier of pathogenic microorganisms, can cause immense harm to public health. Waterborne diseases include typhoid and paratyphoid fever, dysentery and cholera, polio and infectious hepatitis [1].

     Many developing countries are witnessing a stage of development where water from shallow wells and boreholes are gradually supplementing the original sources of drinking water (surface water). The preference for underground water to surface water is borne out of the belief that before underground water can be distributed as tap water it must always be subjected to some purification, while in practice, underground waters are filtered by natural processes as they pass through columns of soils, sands, strata, or sedimentary layers of rocks and are usually clear of solid materials as they come from the aquifer, particularly if they are deep seated ones. The intricate pore spaces or water passage ways of the aquifer materials act as a fine filter and remove small particles of clay or any other fines [2]. Organic materials decay or are destroyed in transit. Thus, the dirtiest and most polluted sewage water may become clear of suspended/particulate solid materials once it has gone through a thick bed of sand or geologic and pedologic units. As a result of this natural self-cleansing of polluted water by deep-seated aquifers, physical and biological aspects of pollution may not pose serious problems in underground waters [2].

    Thus, underground water may not be treated before use and is believed to be free from pollution. In spite of all this, underground waters may have pollutants that not only depend on the geology, pedology, and mineralogy of the formations it flows through but also on the constituent pollutants/contaminants in the water that recharges the underground water. Unsatisfactory colour and taste are easily detected and are good indicators for underground waters of poor quality. Some underground waters taste of iron, others may have a disagreeable odor. Borehole waters must, as a rule, be analyzed for chemical contaminants before the water is distributed and supplied to households [2].

1.2 Background of Study

       The area of study is Nkanu East and Nkanu West. A Local Government Area in Enugu State, Nigeria, Nkanu  East  borders  Ebonyi State to the east. Its Headquarters is Amagunze. It is a rural area with a population of about 148, 774 and land mass of approximately 795 km2.. Nkanu West has its Headquarters at Agbani. It has an area of 225 km2 and a population of 146,695. The major occupation in these areas is farming. The various communities making up the two local government areas live in small villages, which still have considerable natural surroundings. Although there are springs and streams, most of the communities rely on boreholes for their water supply due to proximity and modernity [3].

    Due to increased use of fertilizers and pesticides in this areas part of which is leached into the underground water through the soil, there is increased risk of pollution of these boreholes. Enugu, the state of study was previously mined for coal and underground water pollution is an ever present risk in areas of mining. Also most of the people use pit toilets which are sources of underground water pollution [2].

1.3 Scope of Study

    Samples of water from ten boreholes in the two LGAs specifically in Amechi Idodo, Mbulu Owo, Umueze, Agbani, Ugbawka, Isiogbo Nara, Akpugo, Amurri, Nara Unateze and Amodu Awkunanaw are to be collected. Physicochemical, bacteriological and trace metal analysis comprising of temperature, colour, pH, electrical conductivity, turbidity, total dissolved solids, total alkalinity, total hardness, calcium, magnesium, chloride, nitrate, phosphate, sulphate, sodium, potassium, total coliform, lead, copper, zinc, chromium, cadmium, and nickel are to be undertaken and values obtained are to be compared with World Health Organization (WHO) guideline values.

1.4 Objective of Study

    There are yet no reported physicochemical or bacteriological studies of underground water resources in Nkanu East and Nkanu West Local government Areas. Therefore we set out to analyze borehole water samples from these areas in order to ascertain the potability and safety of the water by comparing the concentration levels with set standards and to procure the present quality status as baseline data for future periodic monitoring of the underground water quality in this area.





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