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Characterization of Soil and Sediment Parameters of Jisike-Izombe Upper Aquifer System for Assessment of the Potential of Groundwater Pollution

TUS Onyeobi
CN Akujieze


The JES field, an onshore field in the Jisike – Izombe area of southeastern Nigeria had a number of oil-producing wells before it was abandoned over a decade ago. By means of soil/sediment samples retrieved from three strategically located boreholes around the field, the subsurface units were delineated and the physical characteristics of the vadose zone were determined in order to predict the groundwater pollution potential of the upper aquifer system in the area. Ground conditions were found to be approximately 1metre (3.043ft) of loamy top soil overlying about 1.2metres (3.65ft) of clayey laterite which overlies 19.4 – 24.6metres i.e (60ft – 75ft) of reddish-brown silty sand, beneath which is medium – coarse grained white sand which constitutes the aquifer system with estimated hydraulic conductivity in the range 1 x 10-1 to 169 x 10-1 mm/sec. Flow analysis of groundwater indicates a southwesterly flow with the River Niger as possible discharge zone. The high leaching potentials and high transmissive properties of the sediments below the clayey laterite suggests a vulnerability of the aquifer to pollution through vertical infiltration. However, borehole water quality parameters for the area show that groundwater quality is not in anyway compromised when compared to the WHO limits. Rather, it is argued that the groundwater is naturally well protected by the upper part of the vadose zone where the clayey lateritic soil with iron oxide cementation of soil particles provides an appreciable degree of barrier to downward movement of contaminants. Because of the clayey behavour of the near-surface soils and their affinity for the retention of contaminants, it is concluded that the area is not a locus of groundwater pollution. © JASEM

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eISSN: 2659-1502
print ISSN: 1119-8362