Temporal and spatial fluctuations of heavy metals in Opa Reservoir, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
The Opa Reservoir, established for water supply to the Obafemi Awolowo University community, over the years has received direct linkage to township drains as a result of the widening and dredging of its river channels. The current study aimed at documenting monthly heavy metal loads at its riverine, transition and lacustrine zones in 2012–2013. Most of the heavy metals, analysed using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer, occurred within wide ranges, with coefficients of variation ranging from 60% to 300%, although the differences in heavy metal loads between the different zones were statistically insignificant at both the surface and bottom levels. The overall order of dominance of the metals was Ni > Cu > Fe > Zn > Cd = Cr > Pb, with nickel concentration being very high throughout. Heavy metal total mean concentration was higher during the rainy season (1.889 mg l−1) than the dry season (1.503 mg l−1) irrespective of sampling sites, having highly significant seasonal differences (p < 0.001) in Ni, Cd, Fe and Cu concentrations. The mean concentrations of Zn (0.074 mg l−1), Fe (0.176 mg l−1), Cu (0.507 mg l−1) and Pb (0.004 mg l−1) were within the WHO acceptable limit. However, the recorded levels of toxic elements Cd (0.031 mg l−1) and Ni (0.905 mg l−1) pose potential health risks to water consumers.
Keywords: acceptable limits, contamination, ecological risk, seasonal variation, toxic elements