Role of mafic and ultramafic rocks in drinking water quality and its potential health risk assessment, Northern Pakistan

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This study investigates the drinking water (groundwater and surface water) quality and potential risk assessment along mafic and ultramafic rocks in the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provence, Pakistan. For this purpose, 82 groundwater and 33 surface water samples were collected and analyzed for physico-chemical parameters. Results showed that the majority of the physico-chemical parameters were found to be within the drinking water guidelines set by the World Health Organization. However, major cationic metals such as magnesium (Mg), and trace metals (TM) including iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), chromium (Cr) and cobalt (Co) showed exceeded concentrations in 13%, 4%, 2%, 20%, 20% and 55% of water samples, respectively. Health risk assessment revealed that the non-carcinogenic effects or hazard quotient values through the oral ingestion pathway of water consumption for the TM (viz., Fe, Cr and Mn) were found to be greater than 1, could result in chronic risk to the exposed population. Results of statistical analyses revealed that mafic and ultramafic rocks are the main sources of metal contamination in drinking water, especially Ni and Cr. Both Ni and Cr have toxic health effects and therefore this study suggests that contaminated sites should be avoided or treated for drinking and domestic purposes.

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