Evaluating Concentrations of Major Elements and Heavy Metals in Surface and Groundwater Resources in Reference to the WHO (2011) Drinking Water Quality Guideline at Hitsats and Mayhanse Areas, Tigray, Ethiopia

IJEP 42(2): 149-157 : Vol. 42 Issue. 2 (February 2022)

Zinabu Marsie1*, Zelealem Haftu2, Mekonen Aregai1 and Muruts Hagazi1

1. Aksum University, College of Agriculture, Department of Soil Resources and Watershed Management, Shire Campus, Tigray, Ethiopia
2. Aksum University, Institute of Technology, Department of Geology, Shire Campus, Tigray, Ethiopia


In this paper, we assessed the concentrations of major elements and heavy metals for both surface and groundwater resources concerning the WHO (2011) drinking water standard, in Hitsats and Mayhanse areas, in the northwestern Tigray, Ethiopia [1]. A total of 30 water samples were collected for eight major elements and nine heavy metals and were analyzed using atomic absorption spectrophotometer method. As per the analysis of the major elements, the water type of the area was dominated by HCO3-Cl, Ca-Mg-HCO3 and Ca-Na-HCO3. The concentrations of the cations were characterized by Ca2+>Mg2+>Na+>K+. The highest concentrations of Ca2+ and Mg2+ were observed in the area and it implies that the water was hard in type and the concentration of anions was characterized by HCO3>NO3>SO42->Cl. Almost all results of the heavy metals were above the maximum permissible limits except cadmium. The concentration of heavy metals were characterized by Fe>Ni>Cr>Co>Zn>Cu>As>Pb>Cd. Almost all the major elements and heavy metals concentration shows above the internationally recommended maximum admissible limits and their concentration decrease from the surface water to the groundwater. The high concentration of bicarbonate, nitrate, sulphate, iron, nickel and chromium was mainly related to the geogenic sources, the release of toxic materials from the residents and excessive use of chemical fertilizers from the agricultural areas. The study highlights the need to control the anthropogenic activities adequately to minimize the pollution problems and improve heavy metals contamination in the water bodies. The aim of this study was, mainly focused on the evaluation of the concentrations of major elements and heavy metals in surface and groundwater resources as well as to compare the concentration levels with the WHO (2011) drinking water standard. And finally, properly identified the pollution levels of the water resources and suggested ways to elevate the existing water-related problems in the study area.


Major elements, Heavy metals, Surface water, Groundwater, Tigray, Ethiopia


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