Evaluation of the Effects of Anthropogenic Activities and Domestic Waste on Surface Water Quality (a Case Study of Ekulu River, Enugu).
Objectives of the Study
This project aims to determine the effect of anthropogenic activities and domestic waste on Ekulu River water quality.
Specifically, the objectives of this project are:-
- To collect water samples from different parts of Ekulu River and take them to the lab for analysis.
- To analysis the lab results to ascertain the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the water.
- To recommend amendments for the water considering the various potential uses of Ekulu River in Enugu North of Enugu State.
- To subjectively evaluate the extent of domestic waste deposits in the river.
Eutrophication is the ecosystem response to the addition of artificial or natural substances such as nitrates and phosphate, through fertilizers or sewage, to an aquatic system. One example is the “bloom” or great increase of phytoplankton in a water body as a response to increased levels of nutrients.
Eutrophication can be human caused or natural untreated sewage effluent and agricultural run-off carrying fertilizers are examples of human caused eutrophication. However, it also occurs naturally in situations where nutrients accumulate (e.g. depositional environments), or where they flow into systems on an ephemeral basis. Eutrophication generally promotes excessive plant growth and decay, favouring simple algae and plankton over other more complicated plants, and causes a severe reduction in water quality. Phosphorus is a necessary nutrient for plants to lire and is the limiting factor for plant growth in many fresh water ecosystems. The addition of phosphorus increases algae growth, but not all phosphates actually feed algae. These algae’s assimilates the other necessary needed for plants and animals when algae die they sink to the bottom where they are decomposed and the nutrients contained, in organic matter are converted into in organic form by bacteria. The decomposition process uses oxygen there by depriving the deeper waters of oxygen which is equally needed by fishes and other aquatic organisms. In the absence of this oxygen the fishes and other aquatic organisms will to die.
More so, when this nutrient sinks to the bottom of the river they lack the availability of light which is necessary for photosynthesis of the aquatic plants, a serious strain is placed in the population of algae. Enhanced growth of aquatic vegetation or phytoplankton and algal blooms disrupts normal functioning of the ecosystem, causing a variety of problems such as lack of oxygen needed for fish and shellfish to survive. The water becomes cloudy, typically coloured a shade of green, yellow, brown or red. Eurtrophication also decreases the value of rivers, lakes and estuaries for recreation, fishing, hunting and aesthetic enjoyment.
Health problems can occur where eutrophic conditions interfere with drinking water treatment.
Eutrophication can also be a natural process as a result of seasons. For example during dry seasons, materials such as cow dung and previous decayed vegetation are been conveyed by the first rainfall of the seasons into different water bodies. Human activities can accelerate the rate at which nutrients enter the water body. Run-off from agriculture and development, pollution from septic systems and sewers and other human related activities increase the flow of both organic substances and in-organic nutrients into water bodies. Elevated levels of atmospheric compounds of nitrogen can increase nitrogen availability. Phosphorus is often regarded as the main culprit in cases of eutrophication in lakes subjected to “point source” pollution from sewage pipes. The concentration of algae and the tropic states of lakes and rivers corresponds well to phosphorus levels in water. Studies conducted in the experimental lakes area in Ontario have shown a relationship between the addition of phosphorus and the rate of eutrophication. Human kind has increased the rate of phosphorus cycling on earth by four times, mainly due to agricultural, fertilizer production and application between 1950 and 1995, an estimated 600,000,000 tones of phosphorus were applied to earth’s surface, primarily on croplands. Policy changes to control point sources of phosphorus have resulted in rapid control of eutrophication.
Sources of surface water pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies (e.g. lakes, rivers, oceans and groundwater). Water pollutions affects both plants and organisms living in this bodies of water, and in almost all cases the effect is damaging either to individual species and populations, but also to the natural biological communities.
Water pollutions occur when pollutions are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds. Water pollution is a major problem in the global content. It has been suggested that it is the leading world wide cause of deaths and diseases, and that it accounts for the deaths of more than 14,000 people daily.
Water is typically referred to as polluted when it is impaired by anthropogenic contaminations and either does not support human use, like serving as drinking water, and/or undergoes a marked shift in its ability to support it’s constituent biotic communities, such as fish, Natural phenomena such as volcanoes, algae blooms, storms and earthquake also cause major changes in water quality and the ecological status of water.
MATERIALS AND METHOD
Area of the study
The study area is Ekulu in G.R.A old Abakiliki road which is in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State Nigeria the Ekulu River is an all season river. It serves the domestic and recreational needs for the people for the purpose of washing, cooking and bathing etc.
This segment of the river receives discharges of contaminated water, combined with sewer over flows and in completely disinfected waste water. Ekulu River is the main source of water for the people around G.R.A.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION.
The results of the microbiological and organic pollutants of the river water samples are shown in tables4.1, 4.2 and 4.3.
The mean counts of micro-organisms isolated from the river water samples.
RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION
Having thoroughly examined the results presented in chapter four; I hereby make the following recommendments.
- Since the river has a very high acidic constant (PHs), it should not be used for domestic purposes or dinking.
- It has low Nitrate and Calcium constant, therefore it can be used for washing clothes since it has potentials of forming lather with soap that is to say that it is soft water.
- It should be treated adequately either by boiling or by adding water treatment reagents.
- Subsequent and consistent surveillance and monitoring of the river should be taken up by the appropriate local authorities to ensure the maintenance of a good water quality.
- There should be an effective health education programme for the community to enlighten them on the effects of using contaminated water to human health.
It is not possible to assess the potability of any water supply by a single laboratory examination. This does not rule out constant examination of this stream used in the umuosoko community. In order to ensure the provision of potable water, procedure whereby water can be examined to determine its microbiological and physicochemical qualities should be carried out. And there should be constant inspection of this Ekulu River. Therefore, the usefulness of water for drinking and use for domestic activities underlines its potability.
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