ASSESSMENT OF SURFACE WATER QUALITY IN AN ARSENIC CONTAMINATED VILLAGE
Kumud C. Saikia and Susmita Gupta
DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2012.523.527
American Journal of Environmental Sciences
Volume 8, Issue 5
Arsenic contamination of ground water has occurred in various parts of the world, becoming a menace in the Ganga-Meghna-Brahmaputra basin (West Bengal and Assam in India and Bangladesh). Recently arsenic has been detected in Cachar and Karimganj districts of barak valley, Assam, bordering Bangladesh. In this area coli form contamination comprises the major constraint towards utilization of its otherwise ample surface water resources. The local water management exploited ground water sources using a centralized piped water delivery scheme without taking into account the geologically arsenic-prone nature of the sediments and aquifers in this area. Thus surface water was the suggestive alternative for drinking water in this area. The present study investigated surface water quality and availability in a village of Karimganj district, Assam, India contaminated with arsenic for identifying the potential problems of surface water quality maintenance so that with effective management safe drinking water could be provided. The study revealed that the area was rich in freshwater ecosystems which had all physico-chemical variables such as water temperature, pH, DO, total alkalinity, free CO2, heavy metals like lead, chromium and cadmium within WHO standards. In contrast, coli form bacteria count was found far beyond permissible limit in all the sources. Around 60% people of the village preferred ground water for drinking and only 6% were aware of arsenic related problems. The problem of bacterial contamination could be controlled by implementing some ameliorative measures so that people can safely use surface water. Inhabitants of the two districts should be given proper education regarding arsenic contamination and associated health risk. Effluents should be treated to acceptable levels and standards before discharging them into natural streams.
© 2012 Kumud C. Saikia and Susmita Gupta. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.