Physico-chemical and Bacteriological Quality of Water from Shallow Wells in Two Rural Communities in Benue State, Nigeria
Ground water abstraction from shallow wells is widely practiced in the Obi and in Oju rural areas of Benue State, Central Nigeria, as a means of fighting guinea worm infestation associated with the surface water sources (streams) in these areas. To ascertain the physico-chemical and bacteriological quality of the water used by the population, water samples from 27 shallow wells in Obi and 19 Oju were taken and examined for key health-related quality parameters using routine methods. In Obi, the ground water colour ranged from 4.0-80.0 TCU, conductivity 55.21600.0 µS/cm, pH 6.1-8.6, TDS 38.6-1286 mg/L, turbidity 1.0-55.0 NTU, arsenic 0.0010.210mg/L, copper 0.01-2.53mg/L, fluoride 0.08-1.82mg/L and nitrate 10.8-63.0mg/L, while in Oju, colour varied from 2.0-87.0 TCU, conductivity 107.4-1375 µS/cm, pH 6.4-8.53, TDS 75.21150 mg/L, turbidity 3.0-48.0 NTU, arsenic 0.001-0.023 mg/L, copper 0.01-2.10 mg/L, fluoride 0.01-1.54 mg/L and nitrate 10.2-59.7 mg/L. Some of these values in some instances exceed the WHO standard for drinking water. Alongside with the presence significant total coliform count in most of the wells (0-47/100 mL in Oju and 0-53/100 mL in Obi), the available water is considered largely unsafe for human consumption as obtained. It is concluded that, while ground water abstraction may be a safety measure against guinea worm infestation it, nevertheless presents other health challenges to the rural population in the area, as the quality of the ground water is generally low.
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