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Research Article
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Physico-Chemical Characterization of Groundwater in Terms of Water Quality Index (WQI) for Urban Areas of Agra, North India

Shahjad Ali , Rajesh Kumar Deolia, Shailendra Singh, Hamid Ali, Mohammad Akhtar, Raisul Islam
Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 2022, 10(6), 409-416. DOI: 10.12691/aees-10-6-11
Received May 11, 2022; Revised June 17, 2022; Accepted June 26, 2022

Abstract

The object of the present research is to inspect the underground water quality for urban areas of Agra, India by water quality index. Sampling was taken from 70 various spatially dispersed locations. Piper and Schoeller diagrams were designed to discover the numerous ions and its constituent present in the present research area. Twelve Physicochemical parameters such as F (Fluorite), pH (Hydrogen ion concentration), TDS (Total Dissolved Solids), Alkalinity, Cl (chloride), Ca2+ (Calcium), Mg2+ (Magnesium), ions of Na+ (sodium), K+ (Potassium), NO3- (Nitrate), SO42- (Sulfate) and TH (Hardness) calculated at 70 groundwater samples from 14 locations of Agra for over a month. We found that more than 64% of samples collected were in lies unfit water category, 21.42% of samples lie in the poor category, 14.28% extremely poor category of water and no water was found in the good and excellent category. The study revealed that more than 99% of samples were not fit for drinking water and other purposes. The percentage distribution was delineated through the pie chart. The water quality index (WQI) ranges from 50.01 to 130.62. Thus, there is a need for some treatment before usage, and required to protect that area from health hazards.

1. Introduction

Water is an amazing substance that is essential for life on the earth, and there is a fixed supply of it on our planet. Drinking water is an essential part for human existence and whole life 1. Groundwater is one of our major sources of resources of freshwater, which is the major problem in front of our administrative officials for its sustainable consumption 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Numerous elements such as increasing demand for water, ever increasing in population, water scarcity at a higher altitude in many parts of the world 7. The poor quality of portable water is responsible for 80% of water-borne diseases in the world. However, millions of people in numerous states of India, China and Africa are mainly suffering from water-borne diseases 8, 9, 10. The contamination and pollution of available water reservoir are rapidly increasing due to Population explosion, Irrigation and Rapid Industrialization 11. The water quality is degraded on account of the presence of numerous pollutants either inorganic or organic, at concentrations beyond acceptable levels which is causing health issues in human society 12, 13, 14. These factors indicate it is needed to observe the quality of water and to guard it against water pollutants. The Water Quality Index (WQI) calculated generally as Water Quality. WQI is one of the most effective, easy and simple comprehensible methods to measure water quality for its appropriateness for various purposes 15, 16, 17. The water quality of a region is one of the significant factors in defining the welfare of society. The rapid increase in industrialization for the production of chemicals, insecticides and pesticides, and their discharge results in the deterioration of water reservoirs. Also, agricultural runoff into nearby water bodies are responsible for water contamination. In 1970, Horton derives a mathematical expression by calculating values from different sets of data to determine the water quality of a concerned area and named it as Water quality index (WQI) 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. It also defines the consequence of diverse water quality factors on the general worth of water and outlines the important indicators to decide upon the water quality 18. WQI is intended to give a means to the policy-framers to determine the water quality in terms of mathematical expression. Thus, it makes it possible to understand the interactions between different physio-chemical parameters to evaluate and analyse a sustainable environment 23, 24, 25, 26. The water quality index is a mathematical single scoring number of water and being calculated employing different tools and is immensely useful as it can be used by decision-makers to decide the water quality as well as proper treatment technique 7, 27, 28, 29. Thus, it becomes a determining aspect of the analysis of water quality programs. Therefore the objective of this research were (i) to assess the water quality of urban areas of Agra, (ii) to provide information on the water quality parameters of the groundwater, (iii) present research also has being carried out to relate the water quality index value with the treatment required and the human consumption.

2. Material and Methods

2.1. Sample Collection and Assessment of Physico-chemical Parameters of Groundwater

The investigation has been carried out in urban locations of Agra, India with coordinates (UTM) X=224,211-782,271 to the east 2,994,463-3,022,174 is located north latitude. Seventy groundwater samples from fourteen locations were collected at a single time point during the period of Jan 2019 to June 2020. The study is targeted to find out the variation in the variable levels of the urban area of Agra region. For this purpose, random samples of groundwater were taken from the tube wells and hand pumps covering different regions (i) north (ii) south (iii) east (iv)west, of the mentioned areas. Each sample was collected in triplicates to obtain the average variable levels and stored at 4 in polypropylene bottles until further analysis. Sampling points and spatial distribution map has been generated using ArcGIS Map10.2.2 software developed by ESRI (Fig.1). Twelve Physicochemical parameters such as pH (Hydrogen ion concentration), TDS (Total Dissolved Solids), Alkalinity, TH (Hardness), Ca2+ (Calcium), Mg2+ (Magnesium), ions of Na+ (sodium), K+ (Potassium), SO42- (Sulfate) Cl (chloride), NO3- (Nitrate), and F (Fluorite) calculated at 70 groundwater samples from 14 locations of urban area of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, North India. pH (Hydrogen ion concentration) and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) were estimated by MultiParameter kit provided by Iscon Instrument at sampling sites. TH (Hardness), Ca2+ (Calcium), Mg2+ (Magnesium) and TA (Alkalinity) were analysed by methods of titration. ions of Na+ (sodium), K+ (Potassium) estimated through flame photometer, while SO42- (Sulfate) and NO3- (Nitrate) estimated by spectrophotometer. The assessment of concentration of fluoride was measured with a specific analytical measurement instrument, Spectrophotometer UV-1800 Shimadzu APHA 30. The ion balance of anion and cation checked, and the result was less than ±5% reveal that the accuracy of the results.

2.2. Calculation of Water Quality Index

The water quality index (WQI) of Agra is evaluated by analyzing a range of physicochemical parameters such as F (Fluorite), pH, TDS (Total Dissolved Solids), Alkalinity, Cl (chloride), Ca2+ (Calcium), Mg2+ (Magnesium), cations sodium (Na+) and potassium (K+), NO-3 (Nitrate), SO2-4 (Sulfate) and TH (Hardness) in different villages. To evaluate the suitability of groundwater, the WQI was calculated for samples collected from the seventy different areas of Agra. The drinking water standard as per WHO (2011) and IS 10500 (2012) has been given in Table 1.

The WQI has been evaluated to know the most common quality variables. All the physicochemical parameters have been evaluated based on the standard procedure given in APHA 30. Numerous steps of the weighted arithmetic index method are given in the following steps:


2.2.1. Assessment of Unit weight (Wn)

The weights for numerous parameters of water quality are presumed to be inversely proportional to the suggested values for the corresponding parameters 1, 18, 33, 34.

The equation gives the formulation for weight calculation:

(2.1)

Where,

Where,

: unit weight for the ith parameter

: Recommended standard for parameter and i = 1, 2, 3…, 16; and

: Constant of proportionality.


2.2.2. Assessment of Quality Rating (Qn)

A quality rating scale for each parameter was computed by dividing its standard concentration given by WHO guidelines.

Quality rating

(2.2)

Where,

= Actual value of the parameter in a water sample

= Ideal value of different water quality parameters (0 for all parameters except pH 7 Milligram per liter)

= Standard value for the parameter


2.2.3. Assessment of Quality Rating for pH

The following equation is used for the calculation of the quality rating of pH. However, the ideal value is 7 for pH (potable water) and an acceptable limit is 8.5 (contaminated water).

(2.3)

Where,

Actual value of pH in a water sample.


2.2.4. Assessment and Calculation of Water Quality Index (WQI)
(2.4)

The water quality index (WQI) generally differentiates drinking water into five groups as excellent, good, poor, very poor, and not suitable 34, 35, 36, as shown in Table 2.

3. Results and Discussions

3.1. Groundwater Chemistry of Agra

The results of the Statistical summary of physicochemical parameters of groundwater of urban areas of Agra are presented in Table 3. On the scrutiny of the data it may be seen that (i) The range of the pH of the groundwater samples varying from 7.066 to 7.696 thus all the groundwater samples were within the acceptable limits, as specified by WHO and BIS standards for potable water i.e. 6.5-8.5. (ii) The range of concentration of total hardness (TH) as CaCO3 of the groundwater sample from 156.6-288 mg/L with an average value of 219.90 mg/ L. (iii) The concentration of calcium and magnesium ions were ranged from 65.94-121.11 and 22.08-50.38 mg/L, with an average value of 92.47 and 32.48 mg/L. (iv) The range of concentration of Nitrate is from 2.1 to 14.2 mg/L and none of the groundwater samples indicated NO3- concentration greater than the acceptable limit of 45mg/L (IS 10500, 2012). Arun Ram stated that the concentration of nitrate ranges between 86.95 to 210.4 mg/L. It is more than the acceptable limit throughout the area of study (Ram et al. 2021). The concentration of nitrate ranges from 1 to 67 mg/L with mean value 15.96 mg/L in the area of study 38. (v) The concentration of Sulphate ion ranges from 42 to 133 mg/L with an average value of 83.09 mg/L. (vi) The range of over-all dissolved solids in the groundwater samples is from 805.60 to 2330.20 mg/L with an average value of 1454 mg/L which showed brackish water with a high dissolution of inorganic and organic components in groundwater. Arun Ram 37 stated the values of Total dissolve solids ranged from 280-879 mg/L for potable water Mahoba district, Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, India. Shahjad Ali 1 reported that the values of TDS ranged between 340-1,503 mg/L for drinking water in rural areas of Agra district, India. El Mountassir 38 stated that the values of Total dissolve solids between 172.08-1,977.92 mg/L with an average value of mean of 4,001 mg/L in Krimat aquifer. They described that 77.78% of the locations of sample in this study area is unfit for drinking water according to WHO standards. (vii) The range of concentration of sodium ion is from 187.80 to 657 mg/L with an average value of 368 mg/L and therefore it is the most prevailing among all the cations. (viii) The range of potassium ion concentration was 8.6 and 30.20 mg/L with an average value of 20.73 mg/L. (ix) The concentration of chloride ions was ranged from 205.26-1000.60 mg/L with an average value of 509 mg/L. (x) The alkalinity varied between 416 and 593.20 mg/L with an average value of 440.80 mg/L, considered for the concentration of bicarbonate ion. For majority of groundwater samples, bicarbonate was the most prevailing anion while few samples have chloride ions as the prevailing anion. (xi) The range of concentration of fluoride ions is from 1.50 to 3.52 with a mean value of 2.38. Among 70 samples, more than 99 % of samples have a concentration of fluoride greater than WHO acceptable limit i.e.1.5 mg/L, which may be due to the weathering of fluoride-rich mineral contents in the bedrocks and soil. The overall average of the groundwater samples collected from different areas of Agra was 2.38 mg/L. Shahjad Ali 9 showed a study on the contamination of fluoride and assessment of risk in Agra; the result presented that the concentration of fluoride in the study area ranged from 0.14 to 4.88 mg/L in region of Agra. Out of 73, the concentration of fluoride in 45 villages did not meet the permissible limit WHO. According to research work conducted by Verma 27, fluoride concentration of fluoride ions ranges from 0.34 to 1.89 mg/L with mean value 1.08 mg/L. Arun Ram 37 stated that the concentration of fluoride ranges between 0.11 to 3.91 mg/L. The concentration of fluoride surpassed the acceptable limit (1.5 mg/L) in about 25% samples of groundwater.

3.2. Geochemical Characterization of Agra City

The piper diagram is shown in Figure 2, which clearly exhibits that at most of the sampling points, the common cations were sodium followed by calcium and magnesium. All of the samples have sodium ions as the major cations and most common anions were bicarbonates followed by chloride. Hence the water type of Agra city were classified as Na+/HCO3- or Na+/Cl- type followed by Ca+/HCO3- type. Normally, an elevated level of fluoride is moderately correlated with sodium bicarbonate type water, as it promotes due to fluorite dissolution in water with sodium bicarbonate. The ionic constituents of groundwater samples have been shown in Figure 3 through the Schoeller diagram. This diagram reveals that the concentrations of the main ionic constituents in groundwater (SO4, HCO3, Cl, Mg, Ca, Na and K) in equivalents per million per kg of solution (mEq/kg). This represents the semi-logarithmic relationship. Further the points on six equally spaced lines denoted the concentration of each ion in each sample and those points are connected by a line and the major cations were sodium ions followed by calcium while major anions were bicarbonate followed by chloride among all the ionic constituents. The sulpates and magnesium ions concentration was least present among all cations and anions.

3.3. Correlation Analysis of Agra City

The numerical values of the correlation coefficient (r) for the twelve water quality parameters have been presented in Table 2. Total dissolved solids (TDS) show a positive correlation with Cl (0.957), Na (0.970), HCO3- (0.459), similarly, total hardness has shown a strong correlation with calcium (1.000), and a good correlation with magnesium (0.729), K (0.165) and fluoride (.043). Chloride is highly positively correlated with sodium, which indicates the presence of NaCl in groundwater samples Chloride is showing a positive correlation with TH (.611), Na (.905) too. And as for fluoride is concerned it has a strong positive correlation with pH, which indicates that fluoride is dominated in alkaline water. The correlation coefficient of various areas of Agra city has been shown in Table 4. From this Table 4, It can be observed that the concentration of Sodium ions a positive correlation with fluoride. It may be possibly due to high pH, since high pH promotes the weathering process of sodium-rich minerals. Further the concentration of fluoride ions and bicarbonates has a positive correlation also. Generally, the alkaline nature of groundwater and the abundance of bicarbonate ions leads to the dissolution of fluoride-bearing minerals 39, 40.

3.4. Assessment of Water Quality Index (WQI)

The values of the water quality index for excellent water, good water, poor water, very poor water, and unsuitable water for drinking purposes have been shown in Table 5. Table 5 shows the calculated WQI values which ranged from 55.01 to 130.62 and these have been categorized into five water types, excellent water to unsuitable water type”.

3.5. Water Quality Index (WQI) Distribution in Agra City

Based on the quality of water in different locations, the percentage distribution of different categories of groundwater has been delineated through the pie chart Figure 4, pie chart clearly exhibits that percent of water samples (21.42 and 14.28%) falls in Poor and Very Poor Water’ category requiring treatment of filtration and disinfection and percent of water samples (64.28%) qualify in the Unfit Water’ category which needs ‘Special treatment’. Therefore, it is concluded that more than 99% of the samples are not fit for drinking purposes. It may also be observed that water quality parameters mainly fluoride, chloride, alkalinity, and sodium are found to be greater compared to the acceptable levels resulting in high total dissolved solids (TDS) values which indicates that the contamination of fluoride is mainly due to its geological origin in Agra region.

Table 6 shows the maximum and minimum value of water quality index for various locations of urban area of Agra, It can be seen that the maximum and minimum value of water quality index is 130.62 and 55.01 delineated as per Table 6. On careful scrutiny it is established that the maximum value of WQI is in K.K. Nagar. However, the minimum value is in Dayalbagh.

4. Conclusions

The present experimental work has been carried out to estimate the water quality of groundwater various locations of urban area of Agra, India employing Water Quality Index. Twelve important water quality parameters namely Fluoride, pH, Total Dissolved Solids, Alkalinity, Chloride, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Nitrate, Sulphate, and Total Hardness collected from over one month following clear picture emerges from the data analysis that (i) 64% of samples collected were found under unfit water category, (ii) 21.42% of samples lie in the poor category and (iii) 14.28% extremely poor category of water. However, (ix) no water was found in the good and excellent category. The study revealed that (v) more than 99% of samples were not fit for drinking water and other purposes. The maximum and minimum water quality index ranges from 130.62 to 50.01. The quality of water at Agra city of K.K. Nagar area was unfit for drinking and domestic purposes (130.62). The high value of WQI at these sites was found to be mainly from the higher values of Fluoride, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Sulphate, Total dissolved solids, and Alkalinity in the groundwater. There is a need of some treatment before usage and also require to protect these areas from health hazard. The special distribution of water quality index in urban areas of Agra is a very important and useful tool for the decision-makers to fully understand the type of water quality and to have a chance for better use in the future as well.

Acknowledgments

Dr. Shahjad Ali (principal author) would like to thank the Dr. Shailendra Singh (Director of Anand Engineering College, Agra, India) for providing all the facilities for this present study

Conflict of Interest

The authors of this research study declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Shahjad Ali, Rajesh Kumar Deolia, Shailendra Singh, Hamid Ali, Mohammad Akhtar, Raisul Islam. Physico-Chemical Characterization of Groundwater in Terms of Water Quality Index (WQI) for Urban Areas of Agra, North India. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Vol. 10, No. 6, 2022, pp 409-416. http://pubs.sciepub.com/aees/10/6/11
MLA Style
Ali, Shahjad, et al. "Physico-Chemical Characterization of Groundwater in Terms of Water Quality Index (WQI) for Urban Areas of Agra, North India." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 10.6 (2022): 409-416.
APA Style
Ali, S. , Deolia, R. K. , Singh, S. , Ali, H. , Akhtar, M. , & Islam, R. (2022). Physico-Chemical Characterization of Groundwater in Terms of Water Quality Index (WQI) for Urban Areas of Agra, North India. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 10(6), 409-416.
Chicago Style
Ali, Shahjad, Rajesh Kumar Deolia, Shailendra Singh, Hamid Ali, Mohammad Akhtar, and Raisul Islam. "Physico-Chemical Characterization of Groundwater in Terms of Water Quality Index (WQI) for Urban Areas of Agra, North India." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 10, no. 6 (2022): 409-416.
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  • Table 2. Classification of water quality index (WQI) values for potable based on weighted arithmetic Water quality indexing method [1,34,37]
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