ENUGU STATE UNIVESITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (ESUT)
FACULTY OF APPLIED NATURAL SCIENCE
DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY AND MINING
SEMINAR/ SPECIAL PAPER
TOPIC: NITRATE IN DRINKING WATER
ONWUEGBUNAM, TOOCHUKWU CHRISTIAN.
This is to certify that the Department of Geology and Mining, Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), has approved this Seminar/Special paper written by Onwuegbunam, Toochukwu Christian. .................... ................................... (SEMINAR SUPERVISOR) (HEAD OF DEPARTMENT) Dr. Dan Ozoko DR. C.O AWALLA DATE…………………… DATE………………………
The work is dedicated to God almighty for giving me the wisdom, understanding and strength I needed during this seminar and to all the professionals who helped me to make this work a reality.
My profound gratitude goes to my supervisor Dr. Dan Ozoko, my H.O.D Dr. C.O Awalla and to other lecturers in the Department for their contribution towards my academic success. My special thanks goes to God for making it possible for me to be alive, and also to my parents Mr and Deaconess Christopher Onwuegbunam who sacrificed all they have to make my academic pursuit in life a success.
Nitrogen is a major constituent of the earth's atmosphere and occurs in many different gaseous forms such as elemental nitrogen, nitrate and ammonia. Natural reactions of atmospheric forms of nitrogen with rainwater result in the formation of nitrate and ammonium ions. While nitrate is a common nitrogenous compound due to natural processes of the nitrogen cycle, anthropogenic sources have greatly increased the nitrate concentration, particularly in groundwater. The largest anthropogenic sources are septic tanks, application of nitrogen-rich fertilizers to turfgrass, and agricultural processes. Levels of nitrates in groundwater in some instances are above the safe levels proposed by the EPA (ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY) and thus pose a threat to human health. Particularly in rural, private wells, incidence of methemoglobinemia appears to be the result of high nitrate levels. Methemoglobinemia, or blue baby syndrome, robs the blood cells of their ability to carry oxygen. Due to the detrimental biological effects, treatment and prevention methods must be considered to protect groundwater aquifers from nitrate leaching and high concentrations. Removing nitrates from water is particularly important when infants are drinking the water. Treatment through ion-exchange and other processes can rehabilitate already contaminated water, while prevention, such as reduced dependence on nitrogen-rich fertilizers can lower the influx of nitrates. Blending the water source with another to dilute the nitrate levels or finding an entirely new water source may be necessary. A relatively small amount of nutrients entering water raises nitrate levels. A North Carolina State Water Quality website recommends wells to be 100 feet above any possible contamination sources, building berms to divert runoff away from wellheads, and constructing concrete slabs around wellheads to prevent nitrates in the water. Nitrates are not removed from well water by water softeners or charcoal filter purifying systems. In addition, high nitrate levels in water and feed lead to reduced vitality and increased stillbirth, low birth weight, and slow weight gain...