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Assessment of nitrate, trace elements and bacterial contamination of groundwater in ilora area of southwestern nigeria

Olanrewaju Akinfemiwa Akanbi
Eniola Kofoworola Akinseye


Assessments of groundwater pollution parameters were carried out in groundwater samples collected from selected shallow hand-dug wells across Ilora township. The analysed parameters were nitrate, trace elements including, iron, cobalt, chromium, manganese, zinc, arsenic, cadmium and lead, and bacteria count in water; using spectrophotometric method, HM Metalyser 5000 and multiple tube techniques respectively. The pH of the samples was between 6.4 and 7.6 and TDS range was 50 - 640 mg/l. The concentration of nitrate (NO3) in water was 12.8 - 274 mg/l. For trace elements concentrations in µg/l   ; iron (Fe): 150 – 880, Cobalt (Co): 1 – 100, Manganese (Mn): 0.01 - 140, Chromium (Cr): 0.01 – 0.31, Zinc (Zn): 1.86 - 9.97, Arsenic (As): 3.11 - 20.80, Cadmium (Cd): 0.71 - 4.76, Lead (Pb): 1.00 – 6.82. Based on the average concentration of the trace elements the order of abundance was Fe > Co > Mn > As > Zn > Pb > Cd > Cr. Total coliform count (TCC) in groundwater samples were between 18 and 370 cfu/100mL.  From the evaluation of the degree of association between the parameters, a moderate to strong positive relationship occurred between Fe/Mn (0.59), Fe/Cr (0.85), Fe/TC (0.56), NO3/Co (0.56), NO3/Mn (0.48), NO3/Cd (0.51) and Mn/Pb (0.85). Presence of coliform bacteria in the groundwater samples indicated fecal contamination from surface environment. Comparing the parameters with guideline standards for drinking water, most of the hand-dug wells are contaminated with nitrate, five wells were contaminated with either arsenic and/or cadmium, while water from some of the wells may have objectionable taste due to high iron content. The high values of cadmium and arsenic in some wells are harmful to human health and appropriate treatment is needed. For bacteria contamination, deeper wells are recommended, and the water should to be treated and boiled prior to consumption.


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eISSN: 2992-4464
print ISSN: 1118-0579