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 Table of Contents 
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 175-180  

Influence of physico-chemical parameters on the distribution of uranium in the ground water of Bangalore, India


1 Department of Physics, Bangalore University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Physics, University Science Instrumentation Centre, Mangalore University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication8-Oct-2014

Correspondence Address:
Ningaiah Nagaiah
Department of Physics, Bangalore University, Bangalore - 560 056, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-0464.142389

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  Abstract 

Laser-Induced Fluorimetry has been used to measure the concentration of uranium in the ground water samples collected from the selected study locations of Bangalore city, India. The concentration of uranium in the collected water samples is found to be in the range 0.24 μg/l to 770.1 μg/l, with a geometric mean (GM) value of 18.9 μg/l. About 35% of the water samples show the concentration of uranium above the safe limit of 30 μg/l, set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The annual effective dose associated with the ingestion of uranium by the adult population of the region has been estimated using the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Few physicochemical parameters of water such as pH, Total dissolved solids (TDS), major cations, major anions, and trace elements were also measured. The correlation coefficient among the measured parameters was determined to find the dependence, if any, on the concentration of uranium in the water samples.

Keywords: Effective dose, laser fluorimeter, physicochemical parameters, trace elements, uranium


How to cite this article:
Nagaiah N, Mathews G, Balakrishna KM, Rajanna AM, Naregundi K. Influence of physico-chemical parameters on the distribution of uranium in the ground water of Bangalore, India. Radiat Prot Environ 2013;36:175-80

How to cite this URL:
Nagaiah N, Mathews G, Balakrishna KM, Rajanna AM, Naregundi K. Influence of physico-chemical parameters on the distribution of uranium in the ground water of Bangalore, India. Radiat Prot Environ [serial online] 2013 [cited 2019 Nov 11];36:175-80. Available from: http://www.rpe.org.in/text.asp?2013/36/4/175/142389


  Introduction Top


Uranium is a naturally occurring radioactive trace element found in rocks, soil, air, and water. It has both chemical and radiological toxicity, with the two important organs affected being the kidneys and lungs. [1],[2] The concentration of uranium in ground water depends on the lithology, geomorphology, and other geological conditions of the region. [3] In addition, the physicochemical parameters of the water at a specific location also influence the concentration of uranium. [4],[5] The concentration of uranium is not routinely measured as an indicator of drinking water quality, despite its toxicity. Hence, the measurement of concentration of uranium in drinking water is very important. The main objective of the present study is to measure the level of uranium in drinking water samples and the annual effective dose, due to the ingestion of uranium, from the health hazard point of view. The physicochemical parameters (pH, TDS, major cations, major anions, and trace elements) of all the water samples were also measured to find the correlation if any with the measured uranium concentration.

Description of the study area

Bangalore district is located in the south eastern part of Karnataka. The geographical location of Bangalore is such that it has an altitude of approximately 920 m and is spread over an area of 2174 sq.km. The city stands between the North latitude 12 0 39 ' 32" to 13 0 14 ' 13" and East longitude 77 0 19 ' 44" to 77 0 50 ' 13". The most significant rock unit in this area is the peninsular gneissic complex, comprising of younger and older granites, dolerite, and amphibolite dykes, laterite, charnockite, and amphibolite and pelitic schist. The rocks are made up of several types of potassium granites with variable color, texture, and multiple intrusion relationships. Ground water is the major source of potable water in this region because of the inadequate supply of treated water. The earlier study conducted at some locations of the study area has shown a wide range of concentration (3 μg/l to 515 μg/l) of natural uranium in drinking water samples. [6] This wide range and high concentration of uranium observed necessitated the undertaking of this detailed study on the concentration of uranium over the wide area, along with the physicochemical parameters. [Figure 1] shows the sampling spots of the study locations.
Figure 1: Map showing the sampling spots of the study area with the observed concentration of uranium (ìg/l)

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  Materials and Methods Top


Sample collection

Potable ground water samples (borewell) were carefully collected from the study area along the specified directions in cleaned plastic containers. The pH, TDS and electrical conductivity of the fresh water samples were measured immediately. The filtered (Whatmann 42) water samples were analyzed for the concentration of uranium using a pre-calibrated Laser Induced Fluorimeter. A 50 ml water sample acidified with 1 ml of HNO 3 was used for the analysis of major cations and trace elements. The methods/instruments used for the analysis of various parameters are listed in [Table 1].
Table 1: Method/Instruments used for the analysis of different parameters


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The annual effective dose associated with the concentration of uranium in drinking water was calculated using the following relation.

D = A*I*F

where

D is the annual effective dose due to concentration of uranium in water (μSv/y)

A is the activity concentration of uranium in drinking water (Bq/l) (1 μg/l of U = 0.02528 Bq/l)

I is the annual intake of drinking water (l/y) =730 l/y [7] at the rate of 2 l/day [8] and

F is the dose conversion factor for uranium via ingestion = 4.65 Χ 10 -8 Sv/Bq. [7]


  Results and Discussion Top


The data obtained in the present investigation for the concentration of uranium and the physicochemical parameters for the drinking water samples collected from the study area are presented in [Table 2] and [Table 3]. The concentration of uranium in the water samples is found to vary in the range 0.2 ± 0.005 μg/l to 770.1 ± 0.094 μg/l with a geometric mean (GM) value of 18.9 μg/l. About 35% of the samples show concentration of uranium higher than the safe limit (30 μg/l) as set by USEPA [9] and WHO. [10]
Table 2: The pH, TDS, uranium concentration, annual effective dose, and concentration of trace elements (Pb, Cd, Cu, and Zn) of the collected ground water samples from the study area


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Table 3: Concentration of major cations (Na, K, Ca, and Mg) and major anions (F, Cl, and CO3) in the collected water samples from the study area


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The annual effective dose due to the ingestion of uranium is found to be in the range 0.2 μSv/y to 661 μSv/y with a mean value of 16.3 μSv/y. About 23% of water samples show the annual effective dose greater than the permissible dose of 100 μSv/y as prescribed by WHO (2004). [8] The concentration of lead is found to vary from BDL to 25 μg/l with a mean value of 13.2 μg/l. About 30% of the water samples showed concentration of lead greater than the safe limit of 15 μg/l set by WHO. [11] The cadmium content of all the ground water samples is below the detectable limit (BDL). The copper and zinc content in the water samples is also much lower than the safe limit of 1500 μg/l and 5000 μg/l, respectively, as set by the WHO. [11] In the present study, uranium showed a weak positive correlation (0.27) with lead, moderate correlation (0.44) with copper, and no correlation with zinc.

The fluoride content of all the water samples was below the safe limit of 1.5 mg/l. The chloride levels of a majority of the water samples (except two) were well within the permissible limit of 250 mg/l. The carbonate content was found to be in the range 1.3 mg/l to 6.4 mg/l, with a mean value of 2.8 mg/l. Uranium had greater affinity for chloride and carbonate ions. In the present study, uranium showed weak positive correlation (0.20) with chloride and carbonate (0.22) ions. The correlation study of uranium with lead, chloride, and carbonate content in the ground water samples have been shown in [Figure 2], [Figure 3] and [Figure 4], respectively. The pie chart [Figure 5] shows the percentage of water samples with different ranges of uranium concentration.
Figure 2: Graph of uranium (U) concentration (ìg/l) versus Lead (Pb) concentration (ìg/l)

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Figure 3: Graph of uranium(U) concentration (μg/l) versus chloride (Cl) concentration (mg/l)

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Figure 4: Graph of uranium (U) concentration (μg/l) versus carbonate (CO3) concentration (mg/l)

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Figure 5: Pie chart showing the different concentration intervals of uranium (ìg/l) in the ground water samples of the study area

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The pH of the water samples ranged from 5.6 to 8.5. Most of the water samples showed pH within the safe limit. The concentration of major cations of sodium and potassium were found to be in the range of 3.8 mg/l to 171.6 mg/l with a mean of 69.9 mg/l and 0.15 mg/l to 42.2 mg/l, with a mean of 5.8 mg/l, respectively, which were within the safe limit of 200 mg/l and 100 mg/l. The calcium levels were found to vary from 1.19 mg/l to 285 mg/l, with a mean of 55.2 mg/l. Only one sample was found to exhibit a calcium level greater than the safe limit of 200 mg/l, as set by WHO. [11] The magnesium concentrations of all the water samples were within the permissible limit of 100 mg/l. The correlation analysis of the various parameters measured in the present study revealed that there existed a strong correlation between calcium and magnesium (r = 0.82) and these two elements showed almost similar correlation with the other measured parameters.

The correlation matrix of uranium and other physicochemical parameters of water are listed in [Table 4].
Table 4: Correlation matrix for uranium and other measured physicochemical parameters of groundwater sample


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The data obtained in the present study for the concentration of uranium in the drinking water samples is compared with the results reported by other investigators. The uranium content in the drinking water samples from United States, reported by Drury et al., [12] is in the range of 0.01 μg/l to 652 μg/l. Skeppstrom et al. [13] observed the uranium level in one private well in Stockholm Country, Sweden, to be 445 μg/l. Sridhar Babu et al. [3] have reported that the concentration of uranium in drinking water samples from Kolar, Karnataka, India, was in the range of 0.3 μg/l to 1443 μg/l. The results obtained in the present investigation are thus comparable with the values reported by these investigators. Cothern et al. [14] have reported the concentration of uranium in drinking water from the United States as being in the range of 0.02 μg/l to 6.99 μg/l. Kansal et al. [15] have obtained the uranium content in drinking water samples from Sirsa and Bhivani, Punjab, India, in the range of 6.37 μg/l to 43.31 μg/l. These values are comparatively lower than the values observed in the present study.


  Conclusion Top


The concentration of uranium in 35% of the ground water samples collected from the study area of Bangalore crosses the permissible limit set by USEPA. As a result, the annual effective dose due to the ingestion of uranium through drinking water is also high. The concentration of lead in 30% of the ground water samples is high. However, the concentrations of cadmium, copper, and zinc are well below the safe limit. The fluoride content of all the water samples is below the recommended level. The concentration of uranium shows a moderate positive correlation with copper, whereas, a weak positive correlation with lead, potassium, chloride, and carbonate ions.


  Acknowledgment Top


The authors are thankful to the residents of the study area for their cooperation during the sample collection. One of the authors (Gladys Mathews) also thanks the University Grants Commission (UGC) for granting the permission under Faculty Development Program (FDP) to pursue this research study.

 
  References Top

1.Toxicological Profile for Uranium. US Department of Health Physics and Human Service. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).Atlanta, USA: 1999.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.World Health Organisation (WHO).Division of Operational Support in Environmental Health.Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality.Vol. 2. Health Criteria and Other Supporting Information: Addendum. Geneva: World Health Organisation; 1998.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Sridhar Babu MN, Somashekar RK, Kumar SA, Shivanna K, Krishnamurthy V, Eappen KP. Concentration of uranium levels in groundwater. Int J Environ Sci Tech 2008;5:263-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Singh S, RaniA, Mahajan RK, Walia TP.Analysis of uranium and its correlation with some physic-chemical properties ofdrinking water samples from Amritsar, Punjab. J Environ Monit 2003;5:917-21.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Yasovardhan N, Basha AM, Satyanarayana SV, Reddy GV, Vishwa Prasad K, Padma Savithri P, et al. Seasonal assessment of natural uranium in drinking water around Tummalapalle uranium mining site, Kadapa district, India. Int J Recent Sci Res 2013;4:1406-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Shivaprasad NG. Studies on natural radiation level in the environment of Bangalore, India.Bangalore: Bangalore University; 2012.    Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). Age-Dependant Doses to Members of the Public from Intake of Radionuclides: Part 5. Compilation of Ingestion and Inhalation Coefficients.Ann ICRP 26.Oxford: ICRP Publication 72, PergamonPress; 1996.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.World Health Organisation (WHO). Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality.Vol. 1.3 rd ed.Recommendations. Geneva: World Health Organisation; 2004.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Current Drinking Water Standards.Ground Water and Drinking Water Protection Agency.Report prepared by Wade Miller Associates; 2003.pp. 1-12.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.World Health Organisation (WHO). Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. 4 th ed. Geneva: World Health Organisation; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.World Health organisation (WHO). Guidelines For Drinking Water Quality. 3 rd ed. Geneva, World Health Organisation; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.Drury JS, Reynolds S, Owen PT, Ross RH, Ensminger JT. EPA 570/9-81-001 by Health and Environmental Studies Programme.Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory; 1981.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.Skeppstrӧm K, Olofsson B. Uranium and radon in ground water. European water 2007;17/18:51-62.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.Cothern CR, Lappenbusch WL. Occurrence of uranium in drinking water in the US. Health Phys 1983;45:89-99.  Back to cited text no. 14
[PUBMED]    
15.Kansal S, Mehra R, Singh NP. Uranium concentration in ground water samples belonging to some areas of Western Haryana, India, using fission track registration technique. J Public Health Epidemiol 2011;3:352-7.  Back to cited text no. 15
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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