Identifying sources of elevated Sodium and Chloride ion concentrations in domestic wells, Cape Coast communities, Ghana.

Authors: Joseph Zume*, Shippensburg University, Simon Mariwah, University of Cape Coast
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Environment, Earth Science
Keywords: On-site sanitation facilities, groundwater quality, Chloride classification, Cape Coast-Ghana, molar ratio, domestic wells
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 25
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

High concentrations of solutes in groundwater, particularly the Na+ and Cl- ions, can be indicative of poor groundwater quality. Groundwater enrichment with solutes can result from both anthropogenic and geogenic factors. In this study, in-situ measurements of physicochemical parameters were made in 115 domestic wells across five peri-urban communities of Cape coast, Ghana. On the basis of the in-situ testing, water samples were collected from 40 of the wells and tested in the laboratory for Na+ and Cl- content. Results show the majority of the wells to be highly mineralized, characterized by high electrical conductivity/TDS values. There is evidence to suggest that the elevated Na+ and Cl- ion concentrations may largely be due to groundwater cross-contamination from on-site sanitation facilities. This is possible owing to the close proximities of domestic wells to unimproved sanitation facilities throughout the study communities. Additionally, use of chloride ion classification and the Na+/Cl- molar ratio suggest that saltwater encroachment from the coastline may be another source for the elevated ions at a few locations. The findings of this research have broad policy implications for shallow groundwater management at similar settings throughout Ghana and the entire Sub-Saharan Africa.

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