Assessment of Some Heavy Metals in Groundwater of Awe and its Environs, Parts of North-Central Nigeria: Implications to Health

  • Rhoda Bernard Gusikit Department of Geology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, P.M.B. 2084, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria
  • Ahmed Isah Haruna Department of Applied Geology, School of Sciences, P.M.B. 2084, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, (ATBU), Bauchi, Nigeria
  • Hyeladi Usman Dibal Department of Geology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, P.M.B. 2084, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria
  • Fube Ajol Department of Geology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, P.M.B. 2084, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria
Keywords: Assessment, Heavy Metals, Groundwater, Middle Benue Trough, Health


The study was conducted in Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, parts of the Middle Benue Trough. The aim of the study was to assess the concentrations of some heavy metals in groundwater. Forty eight (48) groundwater samples (16 from wells, 4 from springs, and 28 from boreholes) were collected. Inductive Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrophotometer (ICPMS) was employed to determine the concentrations of these heavy metals in the collected groundwater samples. The study revealed that the concentrations of Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, U, and Zn in hand dug wells are within the WHO permissible limits for drinking water. However, in Azara the concentration of As in the well water is above the WHO permissible limit. Also, Mo concentration in a well water sample at Kanje is above WHO permissible limit. Strontium (Sr) concentration (0.131 – 1.711) in almost all the well water samples are above the WHO permissible limit (0.07 mg/l). Akiri and Awe springs have As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Mo, Ni, Pb, and U concentrations above WHO permissible limits but the concentrations of these heavy metals in Kekura I and Anuku II springs are within the WHO permissible limits. The concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Co, Mo, Ni, Pb and U in almost all the borehole water are within the WHO permissible limits with the exception of the artesian borehole at Tsohongari  Awe I. The variation in the content of heavy metals in the groundwater may be associated with the geology (Asu River Group and Awe Formations) and also on the present of minerals such as As, Pb and Ba in the study area. Eighty - eight percent (88%) of groundwater found in the study area are fresh while brackish and saline water are six percent (6%) each using Sr. Ninety two percent (92%) of the groundwater in the study area are thermal water while only eight percentages (8%) are sub – thermal in nature based on temperature. The likely health challenges that the people using water from the two hot springs may encounter after long time exposure includes; skin disease, circulatory system and heart problems, cancer, bone fractures, hypertension, liver and kidney problems.


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