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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




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
ix 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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