Geochemical Evaluation of Imo River Southeastern Nigeria, in Relation to Environmental Sustainability

Authors : Adeyi, G. O; Okeke, O. C; Onyekuru, S. O; Meribe, P. N; Adeyi A. A

Volume/Issue : Volume 6 - 2021, Issue 12 - December

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The aim of this study is to conduct geochemical evaluation of Imo River water as a management strategy for sustainable development. The objectives are to determine the physical and chemical characteristics of Imo River water; to make a comparison of the physiochemical parameter value with the WHO standard for drinking water; to ascertain the pollution index (status) of the area's water; to determine the SAR (Sodium Adsorption Ratio); and to ascertain the geochemical facies of the river. Water samples were taken from ten (10) strategic gauge stations designated WS1-WS10 along the stretch of the Imo River at a distance of 100 meters apart. Land use features such as dump sites were visited and examined. A global positioning system (GPS) was later used to geo-reference the sampling points. The results of the pH values ranged from 5.45 to 6.30, the turbidity values ranged from 10.4 to 12.5 NTU, and the electrical conductivity ranged from17.0 to 33.6 micro ohms. Total dissolved solids ranged from 10.2 to 20.2 mg/l. The results of physiochemical and geochemical parameters after comparison fell within the value of the WHO (2011) standard for quality water, showing that the water samples are safe for domestic, industrial, and agricultural purposes with a few exceptions for pH, which were slightly acidic, high turbidity levels, as well as high levels of Pb2+ and Cd2+ in some of the sampling stations. Different calculations and plots were also made, ranging from numerical calculations of the chemical models such as the pollution index (PI), which is to evaluate the extent of degradation of the river water. Although the PI value between 0.6 and 0.7 is yet to attain the critical value of 1, it is necessary to monitor it because it is quickly approaching 1. The figures for sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) were deemed excellent for irrigation purposes. Graphical methods such as: Piper (all ten stations fell on the right hand side, indicating that they are Na+ + K+ – Cl- waters), Durov (the pH section of the plot reveals that the river's water is acidic, making it unsafe for consumption). Finally, the major sources of contamination within the study area revealed that they are mainly from agricultural practices, dumpsites, and human defecation by humans. The quality can be improved by applying appropriate treatment to the water before its use for various purposes.

Keywords : Geochemical Evaluation, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS), pH, Pollution Index (PI) and Imo River.


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