Utility of check dams in dilution of fluoride concentration in ground water and the resultant analysis of blood serum and urine of villagers, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India
High levels of fluoride (beyond 1.5 ppm) in ground water as source of drinking water are common in many parts of Andhra Pradesh, India, causing fluorosis. The study carried out in endemic Nalgonda District, Andhra Pradesh, has indicated that the fluoride-rich ground water present in the wells located down stream and close to the surface water bodies is getting diluted by the low-fluoride surface water. Encouraged by this result, check dams were constructed upstream of the identified marginally high fluoride bearing ground water zones in Anantapur District to reduce fluoride levels as an alternate solution for safe drinking water. In this paper, an attempt is made to study the utility and effect of these check dams in dilution of fluoride concentration in drinking water and its resultant impact on the health aspects of certain villagers of Anantapur District through the analysis of their blood serum and urine. Ground water samples from three fluoride-affected villages, blood and urine of males and females from the same villages were collected and analyzed for fluoride using ion selective electrode method. The results indicated that the fluoride levels in blood serum and urine of males in the age group of 5–11 years are found to be the highest. The concentration of fluoride in ground water is directly proportional to the concentration of fluoride in blood serum and urine. The concentration of fluoride in ground water with depth of the aquifer is a function of lithology, amount and duration of rainfall, rate of infiltration, level of ground water exploitation in the area etc. The construction of check dams upstream of the identified marginally high fluoride waters will not only cause additional recharge of ground water but also reduces the fluoride concentration eventually improving the health of the villagers.