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Toxic Chemicals and Microbes in Some Nigerian Water Samples

Author(s): M.E. Ukhun | S.B. Tobi | N.P. Okolie

Journal: Journal of Medical Sciences
ISSN 1682-4474

Volume: 5;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 260;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Drinking water | iron | nitrate | fecal contamination

Some conventional and non-conventional sources of drinking water in Nigeria were screened for Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, cyanide, nitrate, nitrite, nitrosamines, total coliform, E. coli and fecal streptococci, using standard analytical methods. Results obtained showed that water samples from overhead tanks and those from rivers in industrialized areas had iron levels far in excess of WHO permissible concentrations; while in all samples, Cu, Mn and Zn were within safe limits. There was a wide range (42.2 to 179.8) in % coefficient of variation, CV of the minerals between samples, suggesting that sample source influenced mineral levels. The range of values for nitrate, nitrite and nitrosamines were 83�32 to 21,720�590, 14.5�5.0 to 52.0�14.0 and 0.10�0.01 to 0.56�0.03 g L 1, respectively. Surface and overhead tanks had nitrate levels twice the US EPA recommended maximum contaminant limits. The %CV values for nitrate, nitrite and nitrosamines were 157.0, 49.5 and 13.0%, respectively, implying locational variability in these parameters. Cyanide was not detected in any of the samples. Fecal contamination of all samples was indicated by presence of fecal coliform (range 3 to 1,100 cells/100 mL) and fecal streptococci (range 3 to 240 cells/100 mL). The public health significance of these results underscore the need for adequate disposal of human and industrial wastes and the importance of regular monitoring of all drinking water sources.
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