Groundwater contamination in parts of Nalgonada District, Telangana, India as revealed by Trace elemental studies

D Purushotham, D Linga, Netramani Sagar, Sibasish Mishra, G Naga Vinod, K Venkatesham, K Saikrishna

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13 Citations (Web of Science)


The present paper deals with major and trace elements geochemistry of the groundwater from Nalgonda district, Telangana. The study area is very important in terms of anthropogenic activity like rapid industrial, urban development, pesticides, pharmaceutical, granite polishing and agro based industries. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICPMS) was employed to determine the concentration of trace elements in collected groundwater samples (bore well). These probe elements were further categorized as toxic elements (Pb, As, Cd, and V), alkaline earths (Sr and Ba), alkali metals (Li, Rb), transition metals (Cr, Mo and Ni), metallic elements (Cu, Fe, Zn, Al, Co), and other non-metallic elements (Se and Si). The groundwater quality was examined in perspective of Indian as well as World Health Organization drinking water standards. Based on the analytical results, groundwater in the study area is found to be slightly alkaline in nature and very hard, the average abundance of the major cations and anions is in the order of Ca+<Na+<Mg+<K+ and Cl-<HCO3 −<CO3 −<SO4 −<NO3 −<F– respectively. The dominant hydro chemical facies of groundwater is Na+ - HCO –3 – Cl– and Na+ - Cl– – HCO– 3 types.

The results of trace elements shows that concentration of Pb, As, Cd, V in collected samples exceeding the desirable limits, and in the case of alkaline, alkali, transition, non-metallic elements, seventy per cent of the samples crossed the desirable limits, but all metallic elements viz. Cu, Fe, Zn, Al, Co is within the limits as per Indian as well as World Health Organizations drinking water standards. Factor analysis results shows that seven factors emerged as a significant contributor to the groundwater contamination is about 65.32 per cent. The spatial variation maps decipher trace elemental concentrations both geogenic and anthropogenic origin, by three zones i.e. ‘low’, ‘moderate’ and ‘high’ of the study area based on environment using Arc-GIS. High concentrations of trace elements are indicative of phenomenal rise in chemical composition and likely to have its origin from silicate weathering reactions and dissolution/precipitation processes supported by rainfall and anthropogenic activities, indiscriminate use of fertilizers/pesticides, and disposal of waste and sewage, release of reactive pollutants into the atmosphere by industries. Hence, this work is of immense societal benefit in terms of prevailing human health hazards in the study area with a direct relevance to such industrially populated regions elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-458
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Geological Society of India
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


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