Center for Environment and Energy Research & Studies (CEERS)

Assessment of heavy metal pollution in surface water


A total of 96 surface water samples collected from river Ganga in West Bengal during 2004-05 was analyzed for pH, EC, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Cd, Cr, Pb and Ni. The pH was found in the alkaline range (7.21-8.32), while conductance was obtained in the range of 0.225-0.615 mmhos/cm. Fe, Mn, Zn, Ni, Cr and Pb were detected in more than 92% of the samples in the range of 0.025-5.49, 0.025-2.72, 0.012-0.370, 0.012-0.375, 0.001-0.044 and 0.001-0.250 mg/L, respectively, whereas Cd and Cu were detected only in 20 and 36 samples (0.001-0.003 and 0.003-0.032 mg/L). Overall seasonal variation was significant for Fe, Mn, Cd and Cr. The maximum mean concentration of Fe (1.520 mg/L) was observed in summer, Mn (0.423 mg/L) in monsoon but Cd (0.003 mg/L) and Cr (0.020 mg/L) exhibited their maximum during the winter season. Fe, Mn and Cd concentration also varied with the change of sampling locations. The highest mean concentrations (mg/L) of Fe (1.485), Zn (0.085) and Cu (0.006) were observed at Palta, those for Mn (0.420) and Ni (0.054) at Berhampore, whereas the maximum of Pb (0.024 mg/L) and Cr (0.018 mg/L) was obtained at the downstream station, Uluberia. All in all, the dominance of various heavy metals in the surface water of the river Ganga followed the sequence: Fe > Mn > Ni > Cr > Pb > Zn > Cu > Cd. A significant positive correlation was exhibited for conductivity with Cd and Cr of water but Mn exhibited a negative correlation with conductivity.


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