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Assessment of Groundwater Quality for Domestic and Irrigation Purposes in Northern Bamenda (Cameroon)

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Document pages: 19 pages

Abstract: Safe and reliable drinking water availability constitutes a nightmare in many towns of developing countries and is usually appreciated from its physical appearance without prior knowledge of its chemical and biological properties. This study investigates the suitability of groundwater for domestic and irrigational purposes through physico-chemical and bacteriological analyses in the Northern part of Bamenda Town (Cameroon). Thus, 20 groundwater samples were collected from hand-dug wells and spring sources in September 2018 (rainy season) and February 2019 (dry season) and physico-chemical and bacteriological characteristics were determined. The results revealed that pH ranged from 5.5 to 6.6, thus enabling the classification of the water as slightly acidic. Electrical conductivity varied between 0.01 - 0.06 μS cm. The relative abundance of ions was such that Ca2+ > K+ > Mg2+ > Na+ for cations and HCO-3 > Cl- > NO-3 > SO-4 for anions. The water types were Ca-Mg-NO3 in both dry and rainy seasons. The results revealed that the mechanisms controlling groundwater chemistry are rock weathering and atmospheric precipitation. Indicator bacteria such as E. coli, Shigella, Enterobacteria, Vibrio, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus were detected in the studied groundwater samples, thus the water sources may pose a threat to public health.

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