Accidental spills and improper disposal of industrial effluent/sludge containing heavy metals onto the open land or into subsurface result in soil and water contamination. Detailed investigations are carried out to identify the source of contamination of heavy metals in an industrial suburb near Bangalore in India. Detailed investigation of ground water and subsurface soil analysis for various heavy metals has been carried out. Ground water samples were collected in the entire area through the cluster of borewells. Subsurface soil samples were collected from near borewells which were found to contain heavy metals. Water samples and soils samples (after acid digestion) were analysed as per APHO–standard method of analysis. While the results of Zn, Ni and Cd showed that they are within allowable limits in the soil, the ground water and soils in the site have concentration of Cr+6 far exceeding the allowable limits (up to 832 mg/kg). Considering the topography of the area, ground water movement and results of chromium concentration in the borewells and subsurface it was possible to identify the origin, zone of contamination and the migration path of Cr+6. The results indicated that the predominant mechanism of migration of Cr+6is by diffusion.
Keywords: industrial effluent, sludge, heavy metals, soil contamination, water pollution, diffusion, site investigation, migration path, India, groundwater pollution, chromium concentration