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Int. J. Environ. Sci. Tech.

, 7 (4), 785-792, Au tumn 2010


ISSN : 1735-1472 R. Re za; G. S ingh
IRSEN, CEERS, IAU

Heavy metal contamination and its indexing approach for river water
*R. Reza; G. Singh
Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad-826004, Jharkhand, India

Received 10 May 2010; revised 13 June 2010; accepted 2 August 2010; available online 1 September 2010
ABSTR ACT: The objective of the study is to reveal the seasonal variations in the river water quality with respect to heavy
metals contamination. To get the extend of trace metals contamination, water samples were collected from twelve different
locations along the course of the river and its tributaries on summer and the winter seasons. The concentrations of trace metals
such as cadmium, cromium, copper, cobalt, iron, manganese, nickel, lead, mercury and zinc were determined using atomic
absorption spectrophotometer. Most of the samples were found within limit of Indian drinking water standard (IS: 10500).
The data generated were used to calculate the heavy metal pollution index of river water. The mean values of HPI were 36.19
in summer and 32.37 for winter seasons and these values are well below the critical index limit of 100 because of the sufficient
flow in river system. Mercury and chromium could not be traced in any of the samples in the study area.

Keywords: Heavy metal pollution index; Industrial pollution; Seasonal variation

INTRODUCTION
Rapid urbanization and industrial development chemical weathering of rocks and soils, wet and dry
during last decade h ave pr ovoked some serious fallout of atmospheric particulate matter (Macklin et
con cer n s for t h e en vi r on m en t. Heavy m eta l s al., 2003; Bird et al., 2003; Kraft et al., 2006; Singh et
contamination in river is one of the major quality issues al., 2008;Venugopal et al., 2009). The mine water, run-
in many fast growing cities, because maintenance of off fr om aban don ed water sh eds an d associated
water quality and sanitation infrastructure did not industrial discharges are the major source of heavy
increased along with population and urbanization metal contamination, total dossolved solid (TDS) and
gr owth especially for th e developin g countr ies low pH of streams in mining area (USEPA, 1997;
(Sundaray et al., 2006; Karbassi et al., 2007; Akoto et Mohanty et al., 2001; Cravotta, 2008; Shahtaheri et
al., 2008; Ahmad et al., 2010). al., 2008). Rivers in ur ban areas have also been
Trace metals enter in river from variety of sources; associated with water quality problems because of
it be can be either natural or anthropogenic (Bem et the practice of discharging of untreated domestic and
al., 2003; Wong et al., 2003; Adaikpoh et al., 2005; small scale industries into the water bodies which leads
Ak ot o et a l . , 2 0 0 8 ) . Us u a ll y in u n af fe ct ed to the increase in the level of metals concentration in
environments, the concentration of most of the metals river water (Rim-Rekeh et al., 2006; Khadse et al., 2008;
is very low and is mostly derived from the mineralogy Juang et al., 2009; Venugopal et al., 2009; Sekabira et
and the weathering (Karbassi et al., 2008). Main al., 2010).
anthropogenic sources of heavy metal contamination Trace metal contaminations are important due to
are mining, disposal of untreated and partially treated their potential toxicity for the environment and human
effluents contain toxic metals, as well as metal chelates beings (Gueu et al., 2007; Lee et al., 2007; Adams et
from different industries and indiscriminate use of al., 2008; Vinodhini and Narayanan, 2008). Some of
heavy metal-containing fertilizer and pesticides in the metals like Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni and Zn are essential as
agricultural fields (Hatje et al., 1998; Amman et al., micronutrients for the life processes in animals and
2002; Nouri et al., 2006; Nouri et al., 2008). Metals plants while many other metals such as Cd, Cr, Pb and
enter into river water from mining areas through Co have no known physiological activities (Kar et al.,
var ious ways such as min e disch ar ge, r un -off, 2008; Suthar and Singh, 2008; Aktar et al., 2010).
*Corresponding Author Email: raza_ism@rediffma il.com Metals are non-degradable and can accumulate in the
Tel./Fax: +91326 2296 624 human body system, causing damage to n ervous
R. Re za; G. S ingh
system and internal organs (Lee et al., 2007; Lohani water, as well as sink for effluent for the existing
et al., 2008). However, the rivers play a major role in industries. These industrial activities affect various
assimilation or transporting municipal and industrial components of ecology and the environment and
wastewater and runoff from agricultural and mining impart heavy metal contamination in the river water.
land (Singh et al., 2004). The present study aimed to
envisage the water quality status of River Brahmani Field sampling
and its tributaries with respect to its heavy metal In order to achieve the research objective, samples
concentrations in various seasons at Angul district were collected from twelve different locations of
of Orissa. The research work was carried during Brahmani River along with its tributaries in Angul-
summer (May, 2008) and winter (January, 2009). Metal Ta l ch er Reg i on to eval u a te th e h eavy met a l
concentration in river water in various places of India contamination during various seasons (summer and
is illustrated in Table 1. winter) (Table 2). Criteria for selection of sampling
station were based on the locations of industrial units
MATERIALS AND METHODS an d la nd use patt er n to qua n ti fy h ea vy m et al
Study area concentration. Five sites were selected along the
The study area (Angul-Talcher region) is bounded Brahmani River and seven sites were located along
by latitudes 20 37 N to 21 10 N and longitudes 84 its main four tributar ies, named as Tikira River,
53 E to 85 28 E and situated at an average height of Bangaru River, Nandira River and Kisinda River (Fig.
139 m above mean sea level. The river catchment is 1). The Samples were taken from 10 to 15 cm below
characterized by Precambrian granites, gneisses and the water surface using acid washed plastic container
schists of Eastern Ghats with local intrusive and to avoid unpredictable changes in characteristic as
volcanic lithologies; lime stone, sand stone and shales per standard procedures (APHA, 1998). Samples were
of the Gondwanas (Sene-Johansen, 1995; Panda et collected in May 2007 for summer season, and in
al., 2006; Sundaray et al., 2006). The area comes under January 2008 samples were collected for winter
sub tropic monsoon climate with an average annual season. Care was taken to collect subsequent samples
rainfall of 1370 mm. The temperature varies from 11.9 from same location in both the seasons.
C to 44.4 C (Sundaray et al., 2006). At present, it
accommodates sever al lar ge an d medium scale Laboratory methods
industries such as Nalco Smelter and its Captive Power Water samples were collected from all the respective
Plant (CPP-960MW), Talcher Super Thermal Power sampling stations of Brahmani River. The collected
Station, NTPC (TSTPS-3000MW), Talcher Thermal samples were filtered (Whatman no. 42) and preserved
3
Power Station (TTP-460MW), Iron and Steel industries with 6N of HNO for further analysis (APHA, 1998).

and various coal mines. The dr ainage patter n is Concentrations of heavy metals in water samples were
controlled by the River Br ahmani along with its deter min ed with an atomic absor ption spectr o-
tributaries. River Brahmini play as a major source of photometer (GCB-Avanta) with a specific lamp for

Ta ble 1: Comparison of dissolved meta l concentration with other India n rivers (g/L)
Metals Rivers Fe Mn Co Ni Cu Zn Cr Pb Cd Hg References
Subarnarekha river 66.25 11.38 1.13 15.75 15.88 23.00 1.13 19.13 - - Senapati and Sahu (1996)
Hindon river 226.0 129.0 - 24.0 6.6 58.0 15.0 37.0 - - Jain and Sharma (2006)
Baitarani river 100.5 1.70 0.7 3.9 3.45 272.3 9.6 3.45 - - Nayak et al., (2001)
Mahanadi river - 96.9 2.4 7.2 5.9 11.0 9.8 2.68 - - Konhauser et al. (1997)
Achankovil river 11858 699 - - 224 415 - 72 6.0 - Prasad et al., (2006)
Koel
481.78 30.33 8.67 24.78 6.67 31.56 10.89 1.67 - - Sundaray (2009)
(Brahmani) river
Ganga river 800 260 - 140 10 60 - 120 5 - Aktar et al., (2010)
Damodar river 480 3950 11550 300 Chatterjee et al, (2010)

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Brahmani river 5-95 1.5-102 4.0-5.6 9-52 1-4.7 0.4-80.1 - 10-27 0.4-4.0 - Present study

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ingh785 -792, Autumn 2010
particular metal. Average values of three replicates were The calculation involves the following steps
taken for each determination. Appropriate drift blank First, the calculation of weightage of ith parameter;
was taken before the analysis of samples. The working Second, the calculation of the quality rating for each
wave length for the heavy metals are 248.3 nm for Fe, of the heavy metal;
279.5 nm for Mn, 213.9 nm for Zn, 324.7 nm for Cu, 232 Third, the summation of these sub-indices in the
nm for Ni, 228.8 nm for Cd, 357.9 nm for Cr, 217 nm for overall index.
Pb, 240.7nm for Co and 253.7nm for Hg. The weightage of ith parameter is:

Indexing approach Wi = k/Si (1)


Heavy metal pollution index (HPI) is a method of Wh er e, W i is t h e un it weigh tage a n d S i th e
rating that shows the composite influence of individual recommended standard for ith parameter (i = 1-6), k is
heavy metal on the overall quality of water. The rating the constant of proportionality.
is a value between zero and one, reflecting the relative Individual quality rating is given by the expression
importance individual quality considerations and
Q i = 10 0 Vi /S i (2)
defined as inversely proposal to the recommended i

standard (Si) for each parameters. Water quality and Where, Qi is the sub index of ith parameter, V is
its suitability for drinking purpose can be examined by the monitored value of the ith parameter in g/L and
determining its quality index (Mohan et al., 1996; Si the stan dar d or per missible limit for th e ith
Prasad and Kumari, 2008; Prasad and Mondal, 2008). parameter.

2110 2110

Tikira river
NTCP
Brahmani river
Bangaru river

Mahanadi river

2055 Talcher 2055

TTPS

Nandira river CP P

Nal co

Angul

0 5 10 km
2045 Kisinda river 2045

8500 8515

50 0 50 100 km

Fig. 1 : G eographical representation of the study area


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Heavy metal za; G. S ingh in river water
contamination

Table 2: Details of surface water sampling location along with their longitude and la titude
Code Locations Longitude Latitude
W1 Tikira nadi just before meeting Brahmani River 85 0607 2105'40
W2 Brahmani river U/S to Tikira river 850719 210609
W3 Brahmani river D/S to Tikira river 850637 210437
W4 Brahmani river near Samal Barrage 850819 210422
W5 Brahamani river U/S to Nandira river 851531 205330
W6 Angul canal, near Kumanda village 850514 205046
W7 Nandirariver, before meeting to Brahamani river 851535 205316
W8 Nandira river near Tentuli village 851052 205330
W9 Brahmani River D/S to Nandira river 855319 205319
W10 Angul canal at Bargadia chowk 850237 205109
W11 Kisinda river, before meeting to Brahamani river 851655 204903
W12 Bangaru river, before meeting to Brahamani river 851104 210017

The heavy metal index is then calculated as follows: The maximum Fe concentrations were found 64.6
a n d 95 . 0 g/ L i n s u mm er a n d win t er sea son
respectively. It may be assigned to the soil-water
HPI = i =1 (Q i W i )/ i =1 Wi (3)

n n
interaction especially within the middle and lower
Where, Qi is the sub index of ith parameter. Wi is the part of the River stretch during winter season. Lead
unit weightage for ith parameter, n is the number of was found in winter season while in summer it was
parameters considered. Generally, the critical pollution below the detection limit. It may be due to the less
index value is 100. soluble of Pb containing minerals in natural water
(Venugopal et al., 2009a; b). The maximum lead
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION concentration in River water were observed as 27.0
The results revealed that in most of the sampling g/L) during summer season (Neal et al., 2000). The
low values of Cu indicate there is no significant
stations, water was slightly alkaline except at very
source of pollution. The maximum Cu was found
few station s in the upper course of the River where
4.7g/L and 4.2g/L in respective seasons. It may
the water was found to be slightly acidic. The range be attributed to domestic sewage and run-off from
of pH was 7.6-8.5 during the winter, while in summer exten sive far med ar eas (Wu et al., 2008). Th e
it was slightly acidic to alkaline (6.0-8.3). The above relatively higher concentr ations of zinc in some of
values usually indicate the presence of carbonates the sampling stations were 80.1g/L and 75.5g/L
of calcium and magnesium in water (Begum et al., during summer and winter season, respectively. It is
2009). High pH of the River water may r esult in the attributed to the presence of unused remains of zinc
reduction of heavy metal toxicity (Aktar et al., 2010). sulphate in fertilizers (Wu et al., 2008). Highest value
In the case of Total dissolved solids (TDS), there of Co was found (5.6g/L) in summer season, it may
was a considerable amount of dissolved ions in all be due to effluent from metal alloys industries (Brian
the sampling locations. Higher concentration of TDS and Bishop, 2009). The major source of Cd is the
was observed in the River water near the middle part c oa l c o m b u s t i o n , m et a l i nd u s t r y a n d w a s t e
of the River Basin. It was in the range of 166-330 incineration (Brian and Bishop, 2009). The maximum
mg/L an d 164-294 mg/L in summer and winter concentration Cd in the area was 4.0 g/L in summer
season s, r es pectivel y. Var ious lar ge an d s ma ll season. It may be due to coal- combustion which is
in dustr ies are concen trated in th ese areas. Th e very frequent in industries (Thermal Power Station)
effluents from these industries are directed into the and domestic purpose. The maximum value of Ni was
River course which increases the concentration of 52 g/L in winter while Mn was 102 g/L during
TDS in the water body (Phiri et al., 2005; Rim Rukeh summer season. The concentration of Hg and Cr could
et al., 2006). The con centration ranges, mean and not be detected in any of the samples. Most of the
standard deviation of individual metals are illustrated d is s olved h ea vy m et a ls s h owed s l ig h t ly h ig h
shown in Table 4. concentrations during the summer period than that

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Int. J. Environ. Sci. Tech.,
R. Re za; 7G.(4), 785 -792, Autumn 2010
S ingh

Table 3: H PI calculation for the surface water based on the India n drinking water standard (IS: 10500, 1 993)
Heavy metals Mean concentration (Vi) Highest permitted value
Unit weightage (Wi)
Summer Winter for water (Si)
Pb (g/L) 12.1 10 50 0.7588
Cd (g/L) 1.8 0.43 10 3.7939
Zn (g/L) 15.9 11.31 15000 0.0025
Cu (g/L) 1.94 1.55 1500 0.0253
Fe (g/L) 20.32 23.33 1000 0.0381
Mn (g/L) 24.55 24.13 300 0.1265

Table 4: Statistica l Variation (Ra nge, Mean and Standard deviation) among various heavy metals
Parameters Summer Winter Detection Limits
Range Mean SD Range Mean SD (GBC- Avanta)
pH 6.0 8.3 7.5 0.70 7.6 - 8.5 8.0 0.200 -
TDS (mg/L) 166 - 330 254 53.1 164 - 294 219 4000 -
Pb (g/L) < 10.0 - 27.0 12.08 5.23 <10.0 - 10.0
Cd (g/L) < 0.40 - 4.00 1.80 1.93 < 0.40 - 0.70 0.43 0.10 0.04
Hg (g/L) < 0.05 - < 0.05 - 0.05
Zn (g/L) < 0.40 - 80.1 15.90 28.51 < 0.40 - 75.50 11.31 21.4 0.4
Cu (g/L) <1.0 - 4.70 1.94 1.250 < 1.0 - 4.200 1.55 0.90 1.0
Ni (g/L) < 9.0 - 44.3 15.73 12.16 < 9.0 - 52.00 16.35 13.2 9.0
Fe (g/L) < 5.0 - 64.6 20.32 20.89 < 5.0 - 95.00 23.33 27.8 5.0
Co (g/L) <4.0 - 5.60 4.13 0.640 < 4.0 - 5.30 4.14 0.40 4.0
Mn (g/L) <1.5 - 102 24.55 33.74 1.50 - 98.0 24.13 32.9 1.5
Cr (g/L) < 3.00 - < 3.00 - 3.0

of the winter season. These kinds of pattern indicate season, respectively, while the maximum value of HPI
the accumulation of the metal concentration during was (66.15) found at sampling location (w11) in
low flow con dition of River. It may be attributed to summer season. It may be attributed to domestic
high evaporation rate of surface water followed by sewage. The critical pollution index value, above
elevated temperature (Abdel-Satar, 2001). Few metals wh ich t h e ov er all p oll u t io n l ev el s h ou l d be
such as Fe and Ni were high during winter, it may be considered unacceptable, is 100 (Prasad and Kumari,
due to the effect of rain (Phiri et al., 2005). The 2008; Prasad and Mondal, 2008). This indicates the
p r ev i o u s s t ud i e s ha s b ee n e n s u r e t h a t t h e water is not critically polluted with respect to heavy
atmospheric precipitation is very much responsible metals.
for metal contamination in surface water (Wong et
al., 2003; Wu et al., 2008; Pandey et al., 2009). CONCLUSION
S t a t i s t i ca l t es t s s h o w e d t h a t t h e met a l The present study reveals that most of the water
concentrations were significantly different between samples of River system at Angul were found less
sampling stations. It was also observed that for all polluted in h eavy metal contamination profile and
(ten) metals studied; there was a trend of increasing sh ows a tr en d in season al var iation . Ver y few
concentration s from the upstream stations to the samples evidenced th e slightly significan t metal
downstream stations. concentration in water samples in the middle of the
In order to calculate the HPI of the water, the mean Ri ver ca tch m en t du r in g su mm er seas on . It i s
concentration value of the selected metals (Pb, Cd, attributed to the concentration of various mines and
Zn, Cu, Fe, Mn) h ave been taken into accoun t associated industries along with the River course.
(Pr asad an d Mondal, 2008). Table 3 details th e The HPI is very useful tool in evaluating over all
calculations of HPI with unit weightage (Wi) and pollution of water bodies with respect to heavy
standard permissible value (Si) as obtained in the metals (Prasad and Kumari, 2008). The HPI values of
presented study. The mean of heavy metal pollution the present study indicate that the water samples
index values are 36.19 and 32.37 in summer and winter from the River are not critically contamin ated with

790
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R. Re za; G. S ingh
respect to heavy metals. It is due to presence of of Pola nd and in Mila n, Italy. Environ. Int., 29 (4 ),423-
e n ou g h fl ow r a t e of Ri ver wa t er, t h e m et a l 42 8 (6 pag es).
Bird, G.; Brewer, P.; Ma ck lin, M.; Baltea nu, D .; D riga, B.;
concentration from mine water and other industrial
Ser ba n, M.; Z a ha r ia , S., ( 2 0 0 3 ) . T he solid sta te
effluents has been diluted rapidly with respect to a pa rtitioning of contaminant metals and As in river channel
very small distance. More over metal pollution by s edi ment s of t h e mi ning affect ed T i sa dr a i na ge ba s in,
mining and associated industrial activities is somewhat nor t h w e s t er n R o ma ni a a nd ea s t er n H u nga r y. A ppl .
mitigated because of strict implementation of clean G eoc hem., 18 (1 0), 1 583-15 95 (13 page s).
B r i a n, S. C . ; B i s hop, M . , ( 200 9 ) . S e a s o n a l a n d sp a t i a l
technology and environmental measures by industries. va ria tion of meta l loa ds from na tu ra l flows in the upper
Te nmi l e C r eek wa t e r s hed, M ont a n a . M i ne Wa t e r
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Environ., 2 8 (3 ) , 166-181 (16 page s).
The authors are thankful to State Pollution Control Ch atte rjee, S . K. ; B hat tachar jee, I .; Cha ndr a, G.; (2 010 ).
Wa te r q u a lity a s s e s s m e n t n e a r a n in d u s t r i a l s ite o f
Board Orissa, for sponsoring this study. Authors are
D a moda r R i ve r, India . E n vi r on. Monit or. As s e ss . , 1 6 1
also grateful to professor T. Kumar, Director, ISM to (1 -4 ), 17 7-18 9 (1 3 pag es).
providing r esear ch facilities. On e of the auth ors CravottaIII, A. C., (2008). D issolved meta ls and associated
(Rizwan Reza) is grateful to Indian School of Mines/ c ons titu e n ts in a b a ndone d c o a l -m ine dis c ha r g e s ,
MHRD/Government of India, for granting a great Pen ns yl va nia , U SA . Pa rt 1 : C on stitu e nt q u a nt it ie s a n d
correla tions. Appl. G eochem., 2 3 (2), 16 6-20 2 (37 pages).
support. Gueu, S.; Yao, B.; Adouby, K.; Ado, G. (20 07). Kinetics and
thermodyna mics stu dy of lea d a dsorption on to a ctivated
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AUTHOR (S) BIOSKETCHES


Reza, R., Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad-826004, Jharkhand,
India. Email: raza_ism@rediffmail.com

Singh, G., Ph.D., Professor and Head, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad-826004,
Jharkhand, India. Email: s_gurdeep2001@yahoo.om

How to cite this article: (Harvard style)


Reza, R.; Singh, G., (2010). Assessment of heavy metal contamination and its indexing approach for river water. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Tech.,
7 (4), 785-792.

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