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JOMO KENYATTA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE AND

TECHNOLOGY

DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL, CONSTRUCTION AND ENVIROMENTAL


ENGINEERING

Project Title

IMPACT OF UNSEWERED SANITATION


ON WELL WATER:

CASE STUDY OF MEMBLEY PARK ESTATE IN RUIRU


AUTHOR

DANIEL MWANGI THIONGO


E25-0195/05
PROJECT SUPERVISOR
H. M. MUTUA

This Project Proposal is submitted in partial fulfilment of the award of BSc. Civil,
Construction and Environmental Engineering of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture
and Technology.

CIVIL ENGINEERING FINAL YEAR PROJECT

DECLARATION
I Daniel Mwangi Thiongo, do solemnly declare that this report is my original work and to the
best of my knowledge, it has not been submitted for any degree award in any University or
Institution.

Signed (Author)
Date...

E25-0195/05

CERTIFICATION
I have read this report and approve it for examination.

Signed (Supervisor)
Date...

H. M. MUTUA

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DEDICATION
I dedicate this project to my parents and siblings who have been there for me. To my friends who
have encouraged me throughout the whole course, my classmates and my supervisor, this is for
you all.
I give God all the glory and honour.

One of the most important lessons in life is that success must continually be won and is
never finally achieved.
- Charles Evans Hughes -

But as for me, I shall always have hope; I will praise You more and more
My mouth will tell of Your righteousness, of Your salvation all day long
Though I know not its measure
Psa. 71:14-15

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the following, who have assisted me in one way or
another, in making this project a success.
First and foremost, I wish to appreciate the Almighty God for His strength, provision, guidance
and protection during this project period.
My supervisor Mr. Mutua, who advised and helped me on various aspects concerning my project.
The department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering was of great help in
providing chemical reagents, administrative and technical support; in particular Mr. Kibe and Mr.
Karugu.
Membley Park Welfare Association for granting me permission to carry out my study in the estate.
All the residents of Membley Park estate, who warmly welcomed me to their homes and allowed
me to get water samples from their wells.
All my classmates and friends, particularly Mr. Mutitu, for those long nights, and Mr. Muli, for
your help in analysis.
May God bless you all.

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Table of Contents
LIST OF TABLES..................................................................................................................................... viii
LIST OF FIGURES ..................................................................................................................................... ix
LIST OF PLATES ......................................................................................................................................... x
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ...................................................................................................................... x
1

Chapter One: INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................. 1

1.1

Background Information ................................................................................................... 1

1.3

Problem Statement .............................................................................................................. 3

1.2
1.4

Problem Justification ........................................................................................................... 1


Objectives ................................................................................................................................. 4

Contaminants to be investigated ............................................................................................. 4

1.5
2

1.6

Research Hypothesis ........................................................................................................... 5


Limitations of Study............................................................................................................. 5

Chapter Two: LITERATURE REVIEW ..................................................................................... 7

2.1
2.2

Introduction: Unsewered Sanitation ............................................................................ 7


Types of Disposal Systems in Unsewered Sanitation ............................................ 7

2.2.1

Septic Tanks .................................................................................................................. 8

2.2.3

Dry Well .......................................................................................................................... 9

2.2.2
2.2.4
2.2.5

2.3

Seepage Pits ................................................................................................................... 8


Cesspools ........................................................................................................................ 9

Pit Latrines................................................................................................................... 13

Water Contamination/Pollution .................................................................................. 14

2.3.1

Point and Non-Point Sources of Pollution ...................................................... 15

2.3.3

Chemical and Physical Characteristics ............................................................. 16

2.3.2
2.3.4
2.3.5

2.4

Contaminants.............................................................................................................. 15
Biological Characteristics ...................................................................................... 17
Harmful Inorganic..................................................................................................... 17

Type of Tests for Water Quality Assessment .......................................................... 20

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2.4.1

Turbidity ....................................................................................................................... 20

2.4.3

Bacteria Coli form Test ........................................................................................... 20

2.4.2
2.4.4
2.4.5
2.4.6
2.4.7
2.4.8

Biochemical Oxygen Demand .............................................................................. 20


Chemical Oxygen Demand ..................................................................................... 21
Total Dissolved Solids (TSS) ................................................................................. 21
Total Suspended Solids (TSS) .............................................................................. 21
Colour............................................................................................................................. 21
pH .................................................................................................................................... 22

2.5

Setback Zones ....................................................................................................................... 23

2.7

Types of water wells.......................................................................................................... 24

2.6

Water Wells ........................................................................................................................... 23

2.7.1

Dug Wells...................................................................................................................... 24

2.7.3

Hand Dug Wells.......................................................................................................... 24

2.7.2
2.7.4

2.8

Driven Wells ................................................................................................................ 24


Drilled Wells ................................................................................................................ 24

Assessment Strategies ...................................................................................................... 25

3 Chapter Three: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .......................................................................... 26


3.1 Description of Sampling Area and Stations..................................................................... 26
3.2 Sampling Procedure ................................................................................................................. 28

4 Chapter Four: EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS & DISCUSSION................................................. 31


4.1 Experimental Results ............................................................................................................... 31
4.2 Data Analysis ............................................................................................................................... 32
Regression Analysis Faecal Coliform ................................................................................ 34
Regression Analysis - Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) ............................................ 37
Regression Analysis - Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) ............................................. 39
Regression Analysis Nitrates Concentration ................................................................. 40
Regression Analysis Phosphates Concentration .......................................................... 43
Regression Analysis Ammonia Concentration.............................................................. 45
Regression Analysis Turbidity ............................................................................................ 46

4.3 Discussion ..................................................................................................................................... 48


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5 Chapter Five: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS................................................... 51


5.1 Conclusions .................................................................................................................................. 51
5.2 Recommendations ..................................................................................................................... 51

BIBLIOGRAPHY/REFERENCES ........................................................................................................ 53
APPENDIX ................................................................................................................................................. 55
TABLES OF WATER QUALITY STANDARDS ...................................................................... 55
EXPERIMENT PROCEDURES ................................................................................................... 57
PLATES ............................................................................................................................................. 61

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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: pH Indicators and Ranges .................................................................................. 22
Table 2: Onsite Data Results ............................................................................................ 29
Table 3: Results from Laboratory Experiments ................................................................ 31
Table 4: Correlation between Faecal coliform and Distance .......................................... 34
Table 5: Correlation between Faecal coliform and Depth ............................................... 34
Table 6: Model Summary - Faecal ................................................................................... 35
Table 7: Correlation between BOD and Depth ................................................................ 37
Table 8: Correlation between BOD and Distance ............................................................ 37
Table 9: Correlation between COD and Distance ........................................................... 39
Table 10: Correlation between COD and Depth .............................................................. 39
Table 11:Correlation between Nitrate concentration and Depth ..................................... 40
Table 12: Correlation between Nitrate concentration and Distance................................ 41
Table 13: Model Summary - Nitrates................................................................................ 41
Table 14: Correlation between Phosphate Concentration and Distance ......................... 43
Table 15: Correlation between Phosphate concentration and Depth .............................. 44
Table 16: Correlation between Ammonia Concentration and Depth ............................... 45
Table 17: Correlation between Ammonia Concentration and Distance........................... 45
Table 18: Correlation between Turbidity and Depth........................................................ 47
Table 19: Correlation between Turbidity and Distance ................................................... 47
Table 20: Correlations...................................................................................................... 48
Table 21: Kenya Water Quality Regulations Standards (KEBS) ...................................... 55
Table 22: WHO Drinking Water Guidelines..................................................................... 56

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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1:Distribution of water sources and waste disposal ............................................... 2
Figure 2: A Water Sample from a Sampling Station .......................................................... 4
Figure 3: Recommended Distances from a Cesspool ....................................................... 12
Figure 4: Risks of a Damaged Cesspool........................................................................... 13
Figure 5: Setback Zones ................................................................................................... 23
Figure 6: Map Showing Area of Study ............................................................................. 26
Figure 7: A Graph of Depth, Distance and Faecal Coliform ........................................... 33
Figure 8: Scatter Diagram showing correlation between Faecal coliform and Distance 35
Figure 9: A Graph of Depth, Distance and BOD ............................................................. 36
Figure 10: A Graph of Depth, Distance and COD ........................................................... 38
Figure 11: A Graph of Depth, Distance and Nitrates....................................................... 40
Figure 12: Diagram showing correlation between Nitrates concentration and Depth of
well .................................................................................................................................... 42
Figure 13: A Graph of Depth, Distance and Phosphates ................................................. 43
Figure 14: A Graph of Depth, Distance and Ammonia .................................................... 44
Figure 15: A Graph of Depth, Distance and Turbidity..................................................... 46

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LIST OF PLATES
1: Water extracted from one of the wells in the study area
2: A well in the study area with no cover and laundry done close to the well
3: Vegetables grown next to the water well
4: Researcher collecting water samples from one of the wells in the study area
5: Researcher measuring distance to the nearest disposal unit
6: Water samples collected and delivered to the lab for testing
7 & 8: Researcher carrying out the COD test in the Environmental lab
9: Incubated water samples for the BOD
10: Filter membranes showing colonies for faecal and total coliform

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
BOD Biological Oxygen Demand
COD Chemical Oxygen Demand
pH Hydrogen Concentration
mg/L milligrams per litre
TDS Total Dissolved Solids
TSS Total Suspended Solids
ppm parts per million
metHb methaemoglobin
TNTC Too Numerous To Count

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1 Chapter One: INTRODUCTION


1.1

Background Information

Membley Park Estate is situated in Ruiru, Ruiru is a town in the Thika District of Kenyas Central
Province (Coordinates: 1 8 50"S 36 57 30"E). Located within three kilometres of Nairobi's city
boundary, Ruiru is a dormitory town for the nation's capital, and is connected by both rail and
road. The town covers an area of 292 km, and is surrounded by numerous coffee plantations.
In 1999, Ruiru had a population of 100,000, but has undergone rapid population growth in
response to shortage of available housing in Nairobi. A 2005 estimate put the population at over
220,000. The town has struggled to adapt to the influx of people.
The estate is mainly a residential estate with its plots sub-divided into acre plots. It has a total of
1218 plots. At the moment, the estate has a population of approximately 600 residents living there
while another 600 are either constructing their houses or yet to begin construction. The
construction in the estate is controlled by a welfare association where all buildings must have their
plans approved by the county council before commencing with the construction. The area has
most of its area covered with a layer of black cotton soil overlying a rock, though some areas have
the rock exposed due soil erosion.
At the moment, there is no existing sewer system. So, most residents build cesspools while others
have pit latrines. Also, the area is yet to be connected with the county council water supply
system. There are two commercial boreholes within the estate from which the residents source
drinking water from. Residents are required to pipe water from the supply points to their
homesteads. Most residents also have shallow wells within their homesteads, from which they get
water for basic domestic use and for irrigation in their small gardens. There are also two seasonal
streams that flow at the outer boundaries of the estate. Some of the residents also source water for
irrigation and domestic use from these streams.

1.2

Problem Justification

Despite intensive research and implementation of water projects over the past two decades in
Kenya, the percentage of population with no satisfactory water and sanitation facilities is still high
and on the rise, especially in the urban areas. It is for this reason that the United Nations declared
the theme for the World Habitat Day 2003 as Water and Sanitation for Cities.

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When water and sanitation facilities are being planned, they are usually done in such a way that it
covers the present local authority boundary, leaving the neighbouring plots and farms. As
population increases, the demand for plots near the local authority increases. This forces the
owners of the farms near the local authority to subdivide their farms and sell the plots. The new
plot owners develop their land with no regard to planning for essential services like roads,
electricity, water and sanitation facilities.
Often the most serious problems arise in medium to smaller sized towns and in densely populated
peri-urban and rural areas where local, shallower, and often untreated, groundwater sources are
used. In these circumstances, direct pollution of the source at the wellhead by the users, by
livestock and by wastewater may be a serious problem.
The nitrogen compounds in excreta do not represent such an immediate hazard to groundwater as
pathogens, but can cause more widespread and persistent problems. Unsewered sanitation has
been shown to cause increased nitrate concentrations in the underlying groundwater at many
localities in, for example, South America, Africa and India
The growing population of Membley Park Estate implies that there are more and more cesspools
being built and pit latrines being dug each and every day. This, coupled with the fact that the area
has no existing sewer system, will lead to the
eventual contamination of the well waters and when
this continues without any control measures being
taken,

the

pollutants

will

eventually

get

to

contaminate the borehole water that is currently used


for drinking.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
(KNBS), only 38.4% of urban and 13.4% of rural
population is supplied with piped water. As a result,
the residents in such areas have to look for alternative
sources of water. Most of them rely on groundwater
to meet their daily water needs. This is reflected by
the results from the KNBS which show that 24.2% of
urban and 42.6% of rural population rely on
well/borehole water.
Figure 1: Distribution of water sources
and waste disposal

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In Membley Park Estate, there are no available surface freshwater sources. Hence, its only logical
to utilize the portable groundwater to meet all the water needs in the area.
The estate is still being developed and it would be uneconomical to build a treatment system for
this small community. Even if a sewer system was to be built to serve the nearby Kenyatta
University, other neighbouring communities (e.g. Kahawa West, Kahawa Sukari and Kahawa
Wendani) as well as nearby industries (e.g. Brookside Dairies and Kenya Clay Products), it would
take some considerable amount of time and would require lots of resources. Even a sewer system
was to be put in place, it would be very important to carry out an assessment of the current water
quality to ensure that it still remains within the recommended standards for human use.
1.3

Problem Statement

A report compiled in 2007 showed that by 2010, Africa's urban population will have grown to
over 420 million with on-site sanitation the predominant excreta disposal option. The use of onsite sanitation has important public health benefits, but can result in large faecally derived loadings
of nitrogen (N) and chloride (Cl) to groundwater resources, authors of a recent study say. (Robens
Centre for Public and Environmental Health, University of Surrey, 2009)
The population of Nairobi city is growing by the day, with more and more people leaving their
rural homes for Nairobi. Its population is now 4million people. As a result, most people are opting
to live in the outskirts of the city, which are less crowded and only a few kilometres from the city.
This would mean that areas like Membley will continue to have a rising population. It is therefore
very necessary to carry out and evaluation and/or assessment of the water quality in these areas of
residence, especially now that:

The area is not supplied with water from county council

The area does not have a sewer system in place

The figure alongside shows a water sample collected one of the sampling stations. From the colour
of the water alone, it is evident that something needs to be done concerning the water quality in
the area.

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Figure 2: A Water Sample from a Sampling Station


This will help to identify the impacts that the current unsewered system has on the environment,
especially the well water used in the area, and hence devise necessary mitigation measures that
will ensure that the area remains habitable by the residents without causing any form of hazard or
threat to the residents health or accessibility to clean water.
1.4

Objectives

Main Objective:
The aim of this project is to investigate impact of unsewered sanitation to the well water of
Membley Park Estate.
Specific Objectives

To collect water samples from the area and test for standard water quality tests.

To identify the water contaminants in the area as well as their sources.

To compare the results of analysis from the water samples with the standards set by both
the Kenya Bureau of Standards (K.B.S) and the World Health Organization (W.H.O)

Contaminants to be investigated
Water contaminants may include organic and inorganic substances. The biological quality of water
will be investigated by checking the presence of coli forms and faecal streptococci. Parameters to
be tested include:

Turbidity

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)

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Hydrogen Concentration (pH)

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

Presence of faecal coli form

Colour

Presence of nitrates

Presence of ammonia

Presence of phosphates

1.5

Research Hypothesis

The rising population density in the area that has unsewered sanitation has a negative effect on the
groundwater that is tapped from the wells and eventually, the boreholes. This can be broken down
into two:
H1 : The wells located near disposal units are more prone to contamination
H2: Shallow wells are more prone to chemical pollution and contamination from storm
water

1.6
i.

Limitations of Study
There are many factors that contribute to the contamination of a well. Such factors
include

the depth of a well

the distance of the well from a disposal unit

the slope of the area

the soil type and properties of the area

the activities being carried out near the well

groundwater level

nature of well cover (concrete, timber or open)

Of all these factors, this study focused on two main factors, i.e. the depth of a well and
the distance of the well from a disposal unit.
ii.

Due to the time constraints, the study did not cover soil properties of the area, but instead,
utilized available information concerning the soil of the area.

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iii.

All well stations will be treated as sample wells and no well will be used as a control
well. The water samples from the wells will be compared with the water standards set out
by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the World Health Organization.

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2 Chapter Two: LITERATURE REVIEW


2.1

Introduction: Unsewered Sanitation

Unsewered sanitation consists of the installation of either septic tanks or pit latrines of the
ventilated, dry or pour-flush types. There are important differences between the two in relation to
groundwater contamination (Foster et al). Septic tank soak-aways discharge at higher levels in the
soil profile than pit latrines and the conditions may be more favourable for pathogen elimination.
Septic tanks are lined and their solid effluent is periodically removed, whereas most pit latrines are
unlined and the solid material remains in the ground. If domestic wastewater is discharged to
unsewered sanitation, there is an added risk of groundwater contamination by the increasing range
of organic compounds used in household products such as detergents and disinfectants.
The impact of unsewered sanitation is felt particularly in relation to drinking water. Contamination
of groundwater by unsewered sanitation has been the proven vector of pathogens in numerous
disease outbreaks. Problems usually arise only where the water table is so shallow that onsite
groundwater may be enhanced by persistent organisms, and considerable uncertainty remains
about the persistence in aquifers of some pathogens, especially viruses.
Often the most serious problems arise in medium to smaller sized towns and in densely populated
peri-urban and rural areas where local, shallower, and often untreated, groundwater sources are
used. In these circumstances, direct pollution of the source at the wellhead by the users, by
livestock and by wastewater may be a serious problem.
The nitrogen compounds in excreta do not represent such an immediate hazard to groundwater as
pathogens, but can cause more widespread and persistent problems. Unsewered sanitation has
been shown to cause increased nitrate concentrations in the underlying groundwater at many
localities in, for example, South America, Africa and India. (Water Quality Assessments 9.4.1)

2.2

Types of Disposal Systems in Unsewered Sanitation

There are two types of private-sewage disposal systems in use today. One is the cesspool (cesspit);
the other is the septic tank. Of the two, the septic tank is by far superior, and in many localities it
is the only system endorsed by law.

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2.2.1

Septic Tanks

A septic tank generally consists of a tank (or sometimes more than one tank) of between 1,000 and
2,000 gallons (4000 - 7500 litres) in size connected to an inlet wastewater pipe at one end and a
septic drain field at the other. These pipe connections are generally made via a T pipe which
allows liquid entry and exit without disturbing any crust on the surface. Today the design of the
tank usually incorporates two chambers (each of which is equipped with a manhole cover) which
are separated by means of a dividing wall which has openings located about midway between the
floor and roof of the tank.
Wastewater enters the first chamber of the tank, allowing solids to settle and scum to float. The
settled solids are anaerobically digested reducing the volume of solids. The liquid component
flows through the dividing wall into the second chamber where further settlement takes place with
the excess liquid then draining in a relatively clear condition from the outlet into the leach field,
also referred to as a drain field, or seepage field, depending upon locality. The remaining
impurities are trapped and eliminated in the soil, with the excess water eliminated through
percolation into the soil (eventually returning to the groundwater), through evaporation, and by
uptake through the root system of plants and eventual transpiration. A piping network, often laid
in a stone filled trench, distributes the wastewater throughout the field with multiple drainage
holes in the network. The size of the leach field is proportional to the volume of wastewater and
inversely proportional to the porosity of the drainage field. The entire septic system can operate by
gravity alone, or where topographic considerations require, with inclusion of a lift pump. Certain
septic tank designs include siphons or other methods of increasing the volume and velocity of
outflow to the drainage field. This helps to load all portions of the drainage pipe more evenly and
extends the drainage field life by preventing premature clogging. (Plumbing-basics.com)

2.2.2

Seepage Pits

The purpose of a seepage pit is to aid in the disposal of liquid wastes. It is a covered pit with openjointed lining and usually supplements tile drains in getting rid of effluent matter from septic tanks
or laundry wastes. The seepage pit should be placed at least 100 feet from the source of water
supply, 10 feet from property lines, and 20 feet from any buildings.
Tightly jointed sewer pipe should be used in connecting it with tile drains. The seepage pit should
be at least 3 feet in diameter and over 6 feet in depth. At least 1 foot of coarse gravel should line

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the bottom of the pit. Brick, stone, block, or similar material should be used to line the sides. This
lining should be at least 4" thick and sealed above the inlet pipe. The upper section of the lining is
usually drawn in to decrease the size of the cover. The cover should be sunk 1 to 2 feet below the
ground and be made of concrete 4" thick.
The capacity of a seepage pit is determined by its size plus the ability of the soil to absorb water. If
a seepage pit is connected to a septic tank, its capacity should equal that of the tank. (Plumbingbasics.com)

2.2.3

Dry Well

These are used to dispose of non-sewage waste. They are covered pits with an open-jointed lining
through which drainage from roofs, areaways, or basement floors can seep.
A large dry well resembles a seepage pit in size and construction. It does not, however, have to be
curbed but can be filled entirely with coarse gravel or crushed stone. A small dry well to serve an
individual drain can be constructed easily. It should be 50 feet from the source of water supply, 20
feet from any disposal field, and 10 feet from the building foundation.
It is made by sinking a 3-foot length of 15" or 18" vitrified clay or cement pipe. The pipe is then
filled with either coarse gravel or crushed stone, and a line is brought in from the downspout. The
top of the well should have either a concrete cover or one of wire netting over which topsoil is
packed. (Plumbing-basics.com)

2.2.4

Cesspools

In non-porous soils and in cases where the use of septic tank or other form of disposal is
absolutely unpractical the use of a cesspool may be adapted as a last result.
Cesspool is a conservancy tank constructed underground for the reception and the storage of
sewage from the household. The contents are transported periodically by a cesspool emptier
operated by council conservancies services or by private contractor, to central site or to a nearest
manhole for disposal. Among the different types such as impervious, overflowing and pervious
cesspools, only the impervious cesspool is adapted from the sanitary point of view. The capacity
should be sufficient enough to store all the sewage discharged to it in the period between dates of
emptying. Generally cesspool is adapted for a population of less than 10 persons.
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Capacity = P x q x E
Where P = number of persons
q = per capita sewage contribution
E = period between emptying (retention time)
Any section of cesspool may be taken, e.g. circular or rectangular. Depth is fixed due to pumping
limitations (suction). It has a minimum capacity is 45days. This may be reduced if regular and
frequent emptying is available. (Prof. Thumbi, 2009)
A cesspool was at one time a dry well lined with loose-fitting brick or stone, used for the disposal
of sewage. Liquids leach out if soil conditions allow, while solids decay and collect as a
composted matter in the base of the cesspool. As the solids accumulate, eventually the particulate
solids block the escape of liquids, causing the cesspool to leach out more slowly or to overflow.
Modern environmental regulations either discourage or ban the use of cesspools, and instead
connections to municipal sewage systems or septic systems are encouraged or required.
The primary cleansing of waste liquids in a septic system is performed by a microbiological
biofilm which forms in the sand and gravel around the pipes of the drainage field. This biofilm is
host to a vast collection of microcellular organisms feeding on the liquid-suspended wastes. A
thick biofilm shell also forms in the loose soil surrounding a cesspool or outhouse pit, but a very
deep cesspool can allow raw sewage to directly enter groundwater without any or minimal
biological cleansing, leading to groundwater contamination and undrinkable water supplies.
It is for this reason that deep water wells on the property must be drilled far from the cesspool.
Most residential waste cesspools in use today are rudimentary septic systems, consisting of a
concrete-capped pit lined with concrete masonry unit (cinder blocks) laid on their sides with
perforated drain field piping (weeping tile) extending outward below the level of the intake
connection. The concrete cover will often have a cleanout pipe extending above ground. Some are
constructed with concrete walls on one or more sides.
The waste cesspool is vulnerable to overloading or flooding by heavy rains or snow melt because
it is not enclosed and sealed like conventional septic tank systems. It is also vulnerable to the entry
of tree roots which can eventually cause the system to fail.

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In some locales, existing rural residential waste cesspools are grandfathered or allowed to continue
operations until they no longer function. Once defunct, they must be disconnected and replaced by
modern septic systems. In areas that have a higher than usual water table or fail a percolation test,
an above-ground drain field waste disposal system may be installed instead.
In the case of sale or transfer of residential property that uses an existing waste cesspool system,
local laws may differ. Some counties or jurisdictions do not permit the sale of residential property
that utilizes a waste cesspool. Other counties or villages may recognize the grandfather clause and
allow the property sale or transfer. (Wikipedia, 2010)
The cesspool is considered outdated today. Its principal advantage lies in the fact that it is a simple
and inexpensive installation.
The major drawback to this type of disposal system is that it can easily contaminate wells or
nearby water supplies. The liquids that are absorbed by the ground are tainted, and slowly but
surely the earth surrounding the cesspool eventually becomes contaminated.
(www.plumbing-basics.com/cesspool-septic-tanks.htm)

Cesspools should be constructed downhill and at least:

60m from the nearest water supply

6m from the nearest dwelling

6m from any property line

6m from bushes and trees

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Figure 3: Recommended Distances from a Cesspool


In such areas with unsewered sanitation, theres always the risk of having groundwater polluted by
sewage passing down through the ground and reaching the water table. Unsewered sanitation
systems that discharge to ground are intended to do so in a controlled way via a properly designed
shallow drainage field with an adequate depth of unsaturated soil between the base of the drainage
field and the water table. In such systems, the gradual percolation of effluent through the
unsaturated soil is an intrinsic, vital and probably the most important component of the treatment
process.
The most common causes of increased risks to groundwater from such systems arise when:

A system is located in an area where the water table is too near to the ground surface to
allow adequate treatment of the sewage effluent before reaching the groundwater table.

A system is connected to a means of rapid infiltration such as a deep soak away or


borehole. These bypass the soil layer, again causing a risk of inadequate treatment of the
effluent before reaching the water table.

The effluent discharged from the system retains an unacceptably high concentration of
potential pollutants. This may result from any, or all, of the following:
i.

poor design,

ii.

poor maintenance,

iii.

overloading

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iv.

deterioration

v.

leakages within the system, caused accidentally during installation; through time
due to a range of factors such as settlement, tree roots and other building work;
or deliberately, for example by holing a cesspool in an attempt to reduce tanker
removal costs

vi.

poor decommissioning (i.e. pipe-work is still active).

Figure 4: Risks of a Damaged Cesspool

2.2.5

Pit Latrines

A pit latrine collects excreta in a pit dug in the ground beneath the toilet structure. If the soil is
loose the pit needs to be lined with, for example, loose bricks to prevent the wall from collapsing.
During storage in the pit, decomposition of the organic substances takes place under anaerobic
conditions. The anaerobic decomposition releases gases (carbon dioxide, methane and sulphuric
gases) and reduces the volume of sludge. Seepage of water into the surrounding soil takes place
through the sides and bottom of the pit. During seepage further decomposition of organic matter
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by soil bacteria takes place reducing the BOD of the water. There will also be die-off of bacteria
and viruses during storage and as the water percolates through the soil. Bacteria under these
conditions do not generally remove nutrients, so contamination of the groundwater will occur.
Control of odour and insects are important with a pit latrine. This is achieved by having a vented
pit.
The vent acts to draw odour and insects into the pit and up the vent. Gases (methane and carbon
dioxide) produced by the decomposition of the excreta also leave through the vent. Ensuring that
the vent protrudes well above the roof of the housing allows ventilation through natural
convection. Facing the vent towards the sun (southward in the Northern hemisphere and
northward in the Southern hemisphere) and painting the vent black to maximize absorption of heat
from the sun will help venting by heat convection. The heated air in the vent rises and draws air
from the toilet.
Ventilated improved pit (VIP) toilets are widely used. Pit latrines pose problems when
groundwater is shallow and the pit is in groundwater or close to it. There is no soil barrier to
protect the water quality of the groundwater, and mosquitoes may breed inside the pit. A pit is also
difficult to dig when the ground is rocky. Pit latrines should not be used in these cases. The pit will
eventually fill with faecal sludge and needs to be emptied. The period between emptying depends
on the size of the pit and its usage. It is desirable to design the pit to store at least one year of
sludge production.

2.3

Water Contamination/Pollution

Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans and groundwater
caused by human activities, which can be harmful to organisms and plants which live in these
water bodies.
Although natural phenomena such as volcanoes, algae blooms, storms and earthquakes also cause
major changes in water quality and the ecological status of water, water is only called polluted
when it is not able to be used for what one wants it to be used for. Water pollution has many
causes and characteristics. Increases in nutrient loading may lead to eutrophication. Organic
wastes such as sewage impose high oxygen demands on the receiving water leading to oxygen
depletion with potentially severe impacts on the whole eco-system. Industries discharge a variety
of pollutants in their wastewater including heavy metals, resin pellets, organic toxins, oils,
nutrients and solids. Discharges can also have thermal effects especially those from power
stations, and these too reduce available oxygen. Silt-bearing run-off from many activities
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including construction sites, deforestation and agriculture can inhibit the penetration of sunlight
through the water column, restricting photosynthesis and causing blanketing of the lake or river
bed thus damaging the ecological systems.
Pollutants in water include a wide spectrum of chemicals, pathogens and physical chemistry or
sensory changes. Many of the chemical substances are toxic. Pathogens can produce waterborne
diseases in either human or animal hosts. Alteration of waters physical chemistry includes acidity,
electrical conductivity, temperature and eutrophication. Eutrophication is the fertilization of
surface water by nutrients that were previously scarce. Even most of the municipal water supplies
in the developed countries can present health risks. Water pollution is a major problem in the
global context.

2.3.1

Point and Non-Point Sources of Pollution

Point sources of pollution occur when harmful substances are emitted directly into a body of
water. For example: an oil spill from a tanker, discharge from a sewage treatment works and
industrial processes.
A nonpoint source delivers pollutants indirectly through environmental changes. An example of
this type of water pollution is when fertilizer from a field is carried into a stream by rain, in the
form of run-off which in turn affects aquatic life.
The technology exists for point sources of pollution to be monitored and regulated, although
political factors may complicate matters. Nonpoint sources are much more difficult to control.
Pollution arising from nonpoint sources accounts for a majority of the contaminants in streams,
lakes and groundwater.

2.3.2

Contaminants

Contaminants may include organic or inorganic substances. Some organic water pollutants
include:

Insecticides and herbicides, a wide range of organohalide and other chemicals

Bacteria, often from sewage or livestock operations

Food processing waste, including pathogens

Tree and branch debris from logging operations

V.O.Cs (Volatile Organic Compounds), such as industrial solvents from improper


solvents

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DNAPLs (Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids), such as chlorinated solvents which may
fall at the bottom of the reservoir, since they dont mix well with water and are more
dense.

Petroleum hydrocarbons including fuels (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and fuel oils) and
lubricants (motor oils) from oil field operations, refineries, pipelines, retail service
stations underground tanks and transfer operations

Detergents

Various chemical compounds found in personal hygiene and cosmetic products

Disinfection by-products (DBPs) found in chemically disinfected drinking water

Some inorganic water pollutants include:

Heavy metals including acid mine drainage

Acidity caused by industrial discharges (especially sulphur dioxide from power plants )

Pre-production industrial raw resin pellets, an industrial pollutant

Chemical waste as industrial by-products

Fertilizers, in runoff from agriculture including nitrates and phosphates

Silt in surface runoff from construction sites, logging, slash and burn practices or land
clearing site

2.3.3

Chemical and Physical Characteristics

Chemical and physical characteristics of water quality embrace pollutants which constitute a
health hazard and qualities of water which may lead to its having an unpleasant taste, odour,
appearance or other property likely to discourage its use.
Each freshwater body has an individual pattern of physical and chemical characteristics which are
determined largely by the climatic, geomorphological and geochemical conditions prevailing in
the drainage basin and the underlying aquifer. The chemical quality of the aquatic environment
varies according to local geology, the climate, the distance from the ocean and the amount of soil
cover, e.t.c.
For untreated water supplies, chemical water quality standards are generally inappropriate.
However, it is necessary to ensure that there are no particular chemical pollutants which constitute
a health hazard in certain areas. For instance, some regions of the world such as parts of India and
Tanzania have fluoride levels in their surface and ground water which may cause damage to teeth
and bones.

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Some chemicals do not themselves cause aesthetic problems, but induce secondary reactions that
cause problems. For example, sugar from effluents from paper mills sometimes stipulate the
growth of filamentous bacteria sphaerotilus in receiving water bodies. The chemicals themselves
do not cause any objectionable characteristics, but the filamentious bacteria may create difficulties
in downstream water supplies by diminishing aesthetic and recreational values and clogging
fishing nets.
In addition, certain chemical characteristics of untreated surface water, particularly the content of
iron and manganese, may cause the water to be coloured and to stain clothes during washing. This
presents no health hazard, but may cause the water users to reject this surface water. It is necessary
to ensure therefore, that any water source has the properties which are acceptable to the population
that will be using it. Acceptable levels of these criteria vary very much from community to
community. For instance, certain communities which traditionally have always used brackish
water will tolerate levels of salt in the water which would prove quite unacceptable to other
communities not accustomed to this taste.

2.3.4

Biological Characteristics

Coli forms are important as indicators of pollution since they show that the water has been
polluted by sewage so recently that the bacteria have not died out naturally. Coli forms do not
increase in numbers in water. They die at a logarithmic rate which may leave a few individuals
existing for weeks of months in fresh water. (F.W Steel et al,1979)
Besides coli forms, feacal streptococci, clostridia and some species of lactobacilli are occasionally
used as indicators as they are always present in the intestinal tracts of humans and animals.

2.3.5

Harmful Inorganic

1. Nitrates
-

Nitrate is one of the most commonly identified groundwater contaminants. Nitrate (NO ) is the
3

main form in which nitrogen occurs in groundwater, although dissolved nitrogen may also be
-

present as nitrite (NO ), ammonium (NH ), nitrous oxide (N O) and organic nitrogen. The
2

concentration, form and behaviour of nitrogen in water are governed by the chemical and
biological processes forming the nitrogen cycle. In this cycle, atmospheric nitrogen gas is
converted to organic nitrogen compounds by nitrogen fixers such as blue-green algae and some
bacteria, such as those in the root nodules of leguminous plants. Nitrogen in organic form and
ammonium can be converted by bacteria in aerobic conditions into nitrite and nitrate, a process
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termed nitrification. Nitrate in anaerobic systems can be reduced by other strains of bacteria to
nitrous oxide or nitrogen gas, by denitrification.

Sources of Nitrate Pollution in Groundwater

Agriculture

A wide variation in nitrate leaching losses from agriculture occurs, resulting from differences in
soil and crop types, fertiliser application rates and irrigation practices. High rates of nitrogen
leaching from the soil can be anticipated in areas where soils are permeable and aerobic, and
nitrogen applications are made to relatively short duration crops, e.g. vegetables or wheat. The
nitrogen loading will be greatest where cultivation is intensive and double or triple cropping is
practised. Especially high nitrogen leaching can occur from soils where irrigation is excessive and
not carefully controlled (BGS et al. 1996).

Livestock

Nitrogen leaching from ungrazed grassland is normally low since grass provides continuous
ground cover. However leaching from intensively grazed land can be a problem since 80% of the
nitrogen consumed by grazing animals is returned to the soil as urine or dung. For the same chalk
soils, leaching losses were five times greater for grazed grassland than for an equivalent cut
grassland. (Ryden et al. 1984)
Discharge of effluent from areas of livestock concentration can also be a common source of
groundwater pollution (Cho et al. 2000). Leachate from manure heaps, leaking slurry storage pits
and slurry or manure spreading can also be a major source of nitrogen in groundwater.

Urban Unsewered Sanitation

Nitrogen is present in sewage in a range of reduced and organic forms, such as ammonia and urea.
These can be oxidised in aerobic groundwater systems to nitrate, although there is uncertainty
about the proportion of nitrogen which is leached and oxidised. There is major concern with the
subsurface contaminant load associated with unsewered sanitation units such as septic tanks,
cesspits and latrines. Troublesome nitrate concentrations are likely to develop from the infiltration
of effluent to underlying aquifers except where water use is high and population density is low.
(Morris et al. 1994).

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In many cities, especially those on low-lying coastal alluvial plains which are underlain by a
shallow water table, disposal of excreta to the ground is not possible, particularly in areas affected
by the monsoon because of surfacing of the water table during periods of heavy rainfall. Thus
wastes are discharged directly or indirectly into surface water courses which can themselves
become major line sources of groundwater pollution.
Health Effects
The primary health concern regarding nitrate and nitrite is the formation of methaemoglobinaemia,
so-called blue-baby syndrome. Nitrate is reduced to nitrite in the stomach of infants, and nitrite
is able to oxidize haemoglobin (Hb) to methaemoglobin (metHb), which is unable to transport
oxygen around the body. This reduced oxygen transport becomes clinically manifest when metHb
concentrations reach 10% or more of normal Hb concentrations; the condition, called methaemoglobinaemia, causes cyanosis and, at higher concentrations, asphyxia.
The Hb of young infants is more susceptible to metHb formation than that of older children and
adults; this is believed to be the result of the large proportion of foetal Hb, which is more easily
oxidized to metHb, still present in the blood of infants. In addition, there is a deficiency in infants
of metHb reductase, the enzyme responsible for the reduction of metHb to Hb. The reduction of
nitrate to nitrite by gastric bacteria is also higher in infants because of low gastric acidity. The
level of nitrate in breast milk is relatively low; when bottle-fed, however, these young infants are
at risk because of the potential for exposure to nitrate/nitrite in drinking-water and the relatively
high intake of water in relation to body weight. The higher reduction of nitrate to nitrite in young
infants is not very well quantified, but it appears that gastrointestinal infections exacerbate the
conversion from nitrate to nitrite. The weight of evidence is strongly against there being an
association between nitrite and nitrate exposure in humans and the risk of cancer (WHO, 1998).
(British Geological Survey, 2004)

2. Phosphorous
Phosphates are present in water as a result of weathering and leaching of phosphate-bearing rocks,
from soil erosion, municipal sewage and industrial wastewater discharge, diffuse sources, runoff,
atmospheric precipitation and from prolonged heavy use of organic or artificial fertilizers. (Jan R.
Dojlido et al, 1971)

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2.4

Type of Tests for Water Quality Assessment

2.4.1

Turbidity

It is an indication of the clarity of water and is defined as the optical property that causes light to
be scattered and absorbed rather than be transmitted in straight lines through a sample of water.
The presence of colloidal solids gives the liquid a cloudy appearance which is aesthetically
unattractive and may be harmful. Turbidity in water may be due to clay and silt particles,
discharge of sewage or industrial wastes or to the presence of large number of micro-organisms.
The main sources of turbidity are erosion, living organisms, and those from human endeavours.
In drinking water, the higher the turbidity level, the higher the risk that people may develop
gastrointestinal diseases. This is especially problematic for immune-compromised people, because
contaminants like viruses or bacteria can become attached to the suspended solid. The suspended
solids interfere with water disinfection with chlorine because the particles act as shields for the
virus and bacteria. Similarly, suspended solids can protect bacteria from ultraviolet (UV)
sterilization of water.
The main impact is merely aesthetic: nobody likes the look of dirty water. But also, it is essential
to eliminate the turbidity of water in order to effectively disinfect it for drinking
purposes.(Turbidity, Lenntech 2010)

2.4.2

Biochemical Oxygen Demand

Biochemical oxygen demand is a measure of the quantity of oxygen used by microorganisms (e.g.
aerobic bacteria) in the oxidation of organic matter. In this test, the dissolved oxygen (DO) level of
a water sample is measured five days after it was collected. On the day of collection, the DO level
is measured in an initial sample. The biochemical oxygen demand is the difference between DO
levels in the two samples. It is not a precise quantitative test, although it is widely used as an
indication of the quality of water. (wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochemical_oxygen_demand)

2.4.3

Bacteria Coli form Test

This is a certain bacteria that propagate in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. They
coexist with other bacteria so they are often used as indicators of possible pathogenic
contamination. There are many ways faecal coli form can enter a waterway such as animal waste,
untreated sewage, combined sewage overflow, and septic tanks. The units of e.coli are cfu/ml.
(www.grc.nasa.gov/fenlewis/home.htm)

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2.4.4

Chemical Oxygen Demand

The chemical oxygen demand (COD) test is commonly used to indirectly measure the amount of
organic compounds in water. Most applications of COD determine the amount of organic
pollutants found in surface water (e.g. lakes and rivers), making COD a useful measure of water
quality. It is expressed in milligrams per litre (mg/L), which indicates the mass of oxygen
consumed per litre of solution. Older references may express the units as parts per million (ppm).
The basis for the COD test is that nearly all organic compounds can be fully oxidized to carbon
dioxide with a strong oxidizing agent under acidic conditions.

2.4.5

Total Dissolved Solids (TSS)

Total dissolved solids (TDS) is defined as the combined content of all inorganic and organic
substances contained in a liquid that are present in a molecular, ionized or micro-granular
suspended form. TDS is measured on a quantity scale, either in mg/L or, more commonly, in
parts per million (ppm). Simply put, if the TDS level is 335 ppm, this means that out of onemillion parts of water (H2O), 335 of those parts are something else. The best method of measuring
TDS is to evaporate a water sample and weigh the remains with a precision analytical balance.
This is the most reliable and accurate method. (Water testing 101: TDS)

2.4.6

Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

Total suspended solids, (TSS), gives a measure of the turbidity of the water. TSS of a water
sample is determined by pouring a carefully measured volume of water (typically one litre; but
less if the particulate density is high, or as much as two or three litres for very clean water)
through a pre-weighed filter of a specified pore size, then weighing the filter again after drying to
remove all water. The gain in weight is a dry weight measure of the particulates present in the
water sample expressed in units derived or calculated from the volume of water filtered (typically
milligrams per litre or mg/l). Although turbidity purports to measure approximately the same
water quality property as TSS, the latter is more useful because it provides an actual weight of the
particulate material present in the sample.

2.4.7

Colour

Impurities dissolved or suspended in water may give water different colour appearances.
Dissolved and particulate material in water can cause discolouration. Slight discolouration is
measured in Hazen Units (HU). Impurities can be deeply coloured as well, for instance dissolved
organic molecules called tannins can result in dark brown colours, or algae floating in the water
(particles) can impart a green colour. (wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_of_water)
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The colour of a water sample can be reported as:

Apparent colour is the colour of the whole water sample, and consists of colour from
both dissolved and suspended components.

True colour is measured after filtering the water sample to remove all suspended
material.

Water quality and colour


The presence of colour in water does not necessarily indicate that the water is not potable. Colourcausing substances such as tannins may be harmless. Colour is not removed by typical water
filters; however, slow sand filters can remove colour, and the use of coagulants may also succeed
in trapping the colour-causing compounds within the resulting precipitate. In water with low
turbidity, the apparent colour corresponds closely to the true colour. However, if turbidity is high,
the

apparent

colour

may

be

misleading.

(tpub.com/content/construction/14265/css/14265_274.htm)

2.4.8

pH

pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of a solution. Pure water is neutral, either a very weak
acid or a very weak base (centre on the pH scale), giving it a pH of 7, or 0.0000001 M H+.
However, pH is not precisely p[H], but takes into account an activity factor, which represents the
tendency of hydrogen ions to interact with other components of the solution, which affects among
other things the electrical potential read using a pH meter. As a result, pH can be affected by the
ionic strength of a solution. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with
a pH greater than 7 are said to be basic or alkaline. (Wikipedia, pH 2010)
If possible, pH of water should be determined in situ. Methods of pH measurement include: pH
indicator paper, liquid colorimetric and electronic meters.
Table 1: pH Indicators and Ranges
Indicator

pH Range

Universal

4.0 - 11.0

Bromocresol green

3.6 - 5.2

Methyl red

4.4 - 6.0

Bromothymol blue

6.0 - 7.6

Phenol Red

6.8 - 8.4

Thymol blue
Phenolphthalein

8.0 - 9.6
8.6 - 10.2

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2.5

Setback Zones

Groundwater used as a public water supply source is called portable groundwater. This requires
the highest degree of protection with the most stringent standards. The rationale is that potable
groundwater should be safe for drinking water supply without treatment. Through interagency
cooperation, local groundwater protection programs can help to prevent unexpected and costly
water supply systems. Some parts of the groundwater protection programs, such as minimum and
maximum setback zones for wellhead protection, are used to protect public and private drinking
water supplies from potential sources of groundwater contamination. Each community well must
have a set- back zone to restrict land use near the well. The setback zone provides a buffer
between the well and potential contamination sources and routes. It will give time for cleanup
efforts of contaminated groundwater or to obtain an alternative water supply source before the
existing groundwater source becomes unfit for use.
A minimum setback zone is mandatory
for each public well. Siting for new
potential

primary

or

secondary

pollution sources or potential routes is


prohibited within the setback zone.
Generally, the minimum setback zone is
a 200-ft (61-m) radius area around the
wellhead for every water supply well.
For some vulnerable aquifers, the zone
may be 400 ft in radius. The maximum
setback zone is a second level of
protection from pollution. It prohibits
the siting of new potential primacy
pollution

sources

within

the

area

outside the minimum setback zone up

Figure 5: Setback Zones

to 1000 ft (305 m)

2.6

Water Wells

Water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring or
drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers. The well water is drawn by pumps. It can
also be drawn up using containers, such as buckets, which are raised mechanically or by hand.
Wells vary greatly in depth, water volume and water quality. Well water typically contains more

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minerals in solution than surface water and may require treatment to soften the water by removing
minerals such as arsenic, iron and manganese.

2.7

Types of water wells

2.7.1

Dug Wells

Until recent centuries, all artificial wells didnt have pumps, and were dug wells of varying
degrees of formality. Their indispensability has produced numerous literary references.

2.7.2

Driven Wells

Provide a cheap solution to accessing ground water in rural locations, with a high degree of
community participation. They have been successfully excavated to 60m. They are cheap
(compared to drilling) as they use mostly hand labour for construction, have low operational and
maintenance costs. Hand dug wells can be easily deepened, if the ground water level drops, by
telescoping the lining further down into the aquifer. Since most of them exploit shallow aquifers,
the well may be susceptible to yield fluctuations and possible surface contamination.

2.7.3

Hand Dug Wells

May be created in unconsolidated material with a "well point", which consists of a hardened drive
point and a screen (perforated pipe). The point is simply hammered into the ground, usually with a
tripod and "driver", with pipe sections added as needed. A driver is a weighted pipe that slides
over the pipe being driven and is repeatedly dropped on it. When ground water is encountered, the
well is washed of sediment and a pump installed.

2.7.4

Drilled Wells

Can be excavated by simple hand drilling methods (augering, sludging, jetting, driven, hand
percussion) or machine drilling (rotary, percussion, down the hole hammer). Drilled wells can get
water from a much deeper level by than dug wells - often up to several hundred meters. Water
wells typically range from 20 to 600 feet (180 m), but in some areas can go deeper than 3,000 feet
(910 m).Drilled wells are usually cased with a factory-made pipe, typically steel or plastic/pvc.
Two classes of drilled-well types based on the type of aquifer which the well is completed in:

shallow or unconfined wells

deep or confined wells

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2.8

Assessment Strategies

Groundwater bodies are always less accessible than surface water bodies. Consequently, obtaining
the essential information on groundwater quality is technically difficult and costly. Significant
limitations in groundwater quality assessment usually have to be accepted and need to be
recognized in the interpretation and use of the monitoring results.

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3 Chapter Three: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY


3.1 Description of Sampling Area and Stations
This research was carried out in Membley Park Estate; a residential estate situated in the outskirts
of Ruiru town. The estate consists of 1218 plots with more than 700 residents already living there.
The rest are either building their residences or are yet to begin building.
A total of 12 wells were identified to be sample stations. These stations were evenly distributed:
from the main road which cuts through the estate, down to the stream that flows at the edge of the
estate.
Since there was no well that could be considered as uncontaminated to be treated as the control, all
the wells were sample wells. The results of these results were to be compared to the standards set
by the Kenya Bureau of Standards for safe drinking water.

Figure 6: Map Showing Area of Study


A total of 12 sampling stations were identified and had the following characteristics:

Well I

The well was located near the main road hence at a higher altitude than most of the other wells.
There was a church on the next plot, where cars were washed every Sunday. The well owner also
did some small scale farming within his plot.

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Well F

The well was located at the end of the plot, further away from the access roads. The area had a
gentle slope with a fair distribution of vegetation cover. There were fewer residents in the area
who practised small scale farming.

Well M

The well was located near the main road though at the end of the plot furthest from the storm
water drainage channel. Small scale farming was practised.

Well E

The well was located further down slope in the area, near the stream. Most neighbouring plots had
small scale farming and animal rearing being practised. There was a residential house next to it
and it was evident that laundry was done next to the well. This was the shallowest well of all.

Well B

This was also located further down slope. There were a number of construction activities going on
in the neighbouring plots. It was also located next to the access road, very near to the storm water
drainage channel.

Well J

The well was located at the furthest end from the road with numerous agricultural and animal
rearing activities being practised. There was a laundry bench next to the well.

Well F2

The well was located near the main road, near the storm water drainage channel. All other
amenities and agricultural activities were carried out down slope from the well location.

Well MM

There was a lot of agricultural activity going on around the well, though it was located further
away from the access road. The owner had stayed for quite some time (approx. 4 months) without
using the well. There was a pit latrine very close to the well.

Well W

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The well was located further away from the access road. The area had a gentle slope. The well had
a permanent concrete cover with water being extracted with a pump. This prevented direct entry of
pollutants. Small scale farming practised

Well N

The well was located near the access roads storm water drainage channel. The neighbouring plot
had it disposal unit next to the well. This was the deepest well.

Well E2

This well was located furthest down slope on the other phase of the estate. It was also very near
the access road and the storm water drainage channel. A lot of agricultural and animal rearing
activities were being practised.

Well R

It was also located further down slope with lots of agricultural activities being practised. There
were numerous agricultural and animal rearing activities. It had a permanent concrete cover with a
pump used for extraction of water.

3.2 Sampling Procedure


Water samples were collected from all the 12 sampling stations between the period of July to
October 2010. After extracting water from the well for 3-4 times and discarding it, a sample was
taken and put in clean and well labelled bottles for easy identification. They were then sealed with
clean corks and put in a cooler box so as to maintain low temperatures to reduce biological and
chemical reactions from micro-organisms. The sampling stations were labelled using letters (e.g.
F, E, N, B, W, I, MM, J, R, F2, E2 and M).
The temperature of the water sample was taken and recorded. The sample was also observed for
any colour visible to the naked eye and recorded as well. Then, the depth of the well was measured
using a steel tape. This was done by lowering the bucket used to extract the water with a rope until
it settled on the water surface in the well. This position was marked with a white chalk on the
rope. The bucket was pulled out and the distance from the bucket to the white mark measured
using the steel tape. This method was used for all the wells since the steel tape available was too
short (8m/26ft) to be inserted directly into the well. The steel tape was used to measure the direct

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distance from the well to the nearest disposal unit like a cesspool, soak pit or pit latrine. Where
there were obstructions in between, e.g. buildings, the right-angle triangle method was used to
come up with the length of the hypotenuse. These values for the lengths were taken and recorded
on site.
The water samples were taken to the JKUAT Environmental Laboratory where the necessary tests
were carried out. The biological tests (i.e. the Biological Oxygen Demand and Coliform tests)
were done on the same day of sampling and in cases where this was not possible; the samples
were stored in the refrigerator.
Table 2: Onsite Data Results
Well

Depth

Temper

Samp

(ft)

ature

nearest disposal

(C)

unit (ft)

le

Colour

Distance

from

Type

of

Duration since last

Disposal Unit

emptying

41

20

Clear

76

Pit Latrine

Never

52

18

Pale White

98

Cesspool

Never in 2 Years

58

19

Pale White

88

Cesspool

Never in 3 Years

25

19

Light Brown

38

Pit Latrine

Never

48

20

Light Brown

78

Cesspool

Never in 3.5 Years

39

19

Clear

68

Cesspool

Never in 3 Years

F2

43

21

Pale White

48

Cesspool

Never in 2.5 Years

MM

53

23

Light Green

40

Pit Latrine

Never

47

19

Clear

52

Cesspool

Never in 4 Years

65

15

Clear

20

Cesspool

E2

46

20

Pale Brown

70

Cesspool

Never in 14 Years

50

20

Pale White

55

Cesspool

Never in 4 Years

Never in 2 Years

Laboratory Experiments
The following laboratory tests were carried out on the water samples:

BOD Titration method (Acid modification method)

COD Open reflux method

Turbidity - Turbidimeter

Nitrates Phenol disulphonic acid method

Phosphates Ascorbic Acid method

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Ammonia DPD Method

Total coliforms Membrane Filtration Method

Faecal coliforms Membrane Filtration Method

Total Dissolved and Suspended Solids Evaporation Method

Hydrogen ion concentration (pH) pH meter method

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4 Chapter Four: EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS & DISCUSSION


4.1 Experimental Results
The following is a summary of the results obtained from the laboratory experiments carried out in
the study:

Nitrates (mg/L)

Phosphates

1.65

6.40

0.13

0.017

28

Sept.

18

6.7

275

4.73

4.00

24

0.12

0.021

0.1

15

TNTC

2010

19

6.5

200

4.65

7.47

48

0.16

0.058

0.05

35

56

19

6.7

200

9.09

4.53

72

0.23

0.017

0.33

72

TNTC

20

6.6

375

328

6.40

88

0.08

0.033

0.78

39

46

19

6.5

100

13.6

6.13

32

0.18

0.046

0.09

18

82

28

F2

21

6.5

200

15.3

4.80

12

0.07

0.071

0.39

69

TNTC

Sept.

MM

23

6.8

100

38.4

2.80

68

0.11

0.16

0.17

76

TNTC

2010

19

6.5

100

20.0

5.07

32

0.15

0.033

0.28

68

156

17

6.8

300

12.3

8.00

12

0.03

0.029

0.63

67

73

E2

20

7.1

100

15.4

7.60

84

0.22

0.029

0.91

23

138

th

(count/100ml)

COD (mg/L)

Total Coliform

Turbidity

100

(count/100ml)

Total Solids

6.7

(mg/L)

pH

20

Ammonia

Temp (C)

(mg/L)

Sample Station

18th

(NTU)
BOD (mg/L)

Date

Faecal Coliform

Table 3: Results from Laboratory Experiments

20

6.2

150

176

6.67

48

0.17

0.1

0.11

44

TNTC

th

20

6.5

150

2.45

7.33

28

0.16

0.018

0.1

54

Oct.

20

6.8

250

3.78

3.47

48

0.16

0.019

0.08

30

TNTC

21

7.2

250

4.76

5.60

72

0.14

0.046

0.07

45

78

19

6.2

300

12.1

6.13

56

0.28

0.018

0.28

68

TNTC

18

6.4

375

116

6.13

76

0.14

0.033

0.64

27

75

19

7.1

300

11.7

6.00

32

0.20

0.056

0.04

36

57

19

F2

21

6.8

200

17.8

3.60

84

0.09

0.028

0.02

35

TNTC

Oct.

MM

22

6.6

200

45.2

3.87

112

0.16

0.45

0.78

52

TNTC

2010

20

6.7

100

13.9

4.27

56

0.13

0.067

0.34

45

TNTC

19

7.2

200

14.2

9.60

68

0.04

0.031

85

98

2010

th

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E2

20

6.5

100

14.8

9.07

132

0.26

0.029

0.81

35

TNTC

19

6.8

250

98

7.20

104

0.19

0.098

0.21

20

TNTC

4.2 Data Analysis


Temperature
The results show that the temperature for the well water falls between 17 and 23C. The difference
in temperature is mainly due to the different times of sample collection during the day. The depth
of the well also contributed to the temperature variations since deeper wells recorded lower
temperatures (e.g. the deepest well, N, recorded a temperature as low as 17C)
Hydrogen ion concentration
The hydrogen ion (pH) concentration show how basic or acidic a water sample is. The results
indicated that the water samples had a pH value range of 6.2 to 7.2, which falls within the
recommended Kenyan and WHO standards of 6.5 to 8.5.
Only well R has a low pH value of 6.2 which later on indicated a higher pH value of 6.8 on the
second sampling. The reason for the first lower pH value was not clearly established.
Total Solids
The value of total solids found in the samples under study ranged from 100 375mg/L. This
showed low levels of both dissolved and suspended solids. Well B recorded the highest levels of
solids and also had the highest turbidity. It was open and also had various construction activities
going near it and most of the pollutants in the well came from the dust and solids from the ongoing
construction. Other wells had different levels of total solids, indicating well pollution from various
sources other than construction.

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Faecal Coliform

Comparison between Depth, Distance and Faecal


Coliform
120

80

Depth & Distance

60

80

50

60

40
30

40

20

20

Count per 100mL

70

100

10

0
I

F2

MM

E2

Sampling Stations
Depth (ft)

Distance from nearest disposal unit (ft)

Average Faecal Coliform

Figure 7: A Graph of Depth, Distance and Faecal Coliform


Faecal coliform is the main parameter used to establish the presence human waste in water.
Of all the 12 wells, well MM was most contaminated with 20% of faecal coliform. The wells that
recorded the highest faecal coliform contamination (i.e. well E, F2, MM and N) are located very
close to the disposal units. Actually, all these wells are located at a distance less than 60ft from the
various disposal units.
The wells that recorded lower faecal coliform counts (i.e. well M, B, E2,R and I) were all located
at a considerable distance from respective disposal units, more than 60ft.
The deepest well, N, also had the shortest distance to the disposal unit and consequently it had
high coliform contamination. The shallowest well, E, also had high levels of faecal contamination
since it was also located a short distance from a disposal unit.
The owner of well I claimed to be treating his well water occasionally, hence the low level of
faecal contamination, despite having a shallow well.

There was no direct correlation between the depth of a well and level of contamination
because most wells with different depths had different levels of faecal contamination with
no particular trend, with the deepest well having highest contamination.

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Regression Analysis Faecal Coliform


Regression analysis is concerned with how the values of Y (dependent variable) depend on the
corresponding values of X (independent variable). The variable that is eventually to be predicted
or estimated should be labelled Y.
The strength of a relationship can be measured by a correlation coefficient. One of the most
widely used is the Pearsons Product Moment Correlation Coefficient, denoted R, which provides
a measure of the strength of linear association. This measure is independent of scale and always
lies in the range -1 to +1;

-1

if there is a perfect negative linear relationship

+1

if there is a perfect positive linear relationship

For analysis, the correlation between faecal contamination and the distance from a disposal unit
and also depth of the well was established using Pearson Correlation Coefficient and the results
indicated below:
Table 4: Correlation between Faecal coliform and Distance

Faecal Coliform

Pearson Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

Distance

Pearson Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

Faecal Coliform
1

Distance
-.818(**)

.001

12

12

-.818(**)

.001

12

12

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).


Table 5: Correlation between Faecal coliform and Depth

Faecal Coliform

Pearson Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

Depth

Depth
.121

.708

12

12

Pearson Correlation

.121

Sig. (2-tailed)

.708

12

12

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This gives a correlation coefficient of -0.818 for distance and 0.121 for depth. Theres a strong
correlation between faecal contamination and distance, which is negative. This means that
generally, the level of contamination in wells decreases with increase with distance of the well
from the disposal unit.
For depth, theres a very weak correlation of 0.121, which implies that the level of contamination
depends less on the depth of the well.
After establishing the correlation between faecal contamination and the distance of the well from a
disposal unit, a scatter diagram to show the distribution of contamination with distance was
plotted, and a line of best fit drawn.

80

Faecal Coliform

60

40

20
Observed
Linear

0
0

20

40

60

80

100

Distance

Figure 8: Scatter Diagram showing correlation between Faecal coliform and Distance
Table 6: Model Summary - Faecal

Model
1

R Square

R
.818(a)

.670

Adjusted R
Square
.637

Std. Error of the


Estimate
13.02193

a Predictors: (Constant), Distance

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The outliers in the graph prove that contamination of the wells does not solely depend on the
distance of the well from a disposal unit, but also on other factors (such as slope of the land). But
this is sufficient to give a general flow of relation between the two factors.
The value of R2 gives the percentage of variation in the dependent variable that can be explained
by the variation in the independent variable. This means that 67% of the variation in faecal
contamination is dependent on distance of the well from a disposal unit.

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)

10.00
9.00
8.00
7.00
6.00
5.00
4.00
3.00
2.00
1.00
0.00

100

Depth & Length in ft

80
60
40
20
0
I

F2 MM W

E2

Concentration in mg/L

Comparison between Depth, Distance and BOD


120

Sampling Stations
Depth (ft)

Distance from nearest disposal unit (ft)

Average BOD5

Figure 9: A Graph of Depth, Distance and BOD

The well with the highest BOD, well N, had the shortest distance from the nearest disposal unit.
Other wells with high levels of BOD either had shallow depth (e.g. wells E and B) or had various
agricultural activities being practised in the area (e.g. wells J and E2).
For well F, it was located furthest from the disposal unit and it recorded a lower BOD level as
compared to the other wells which had almost the same depth.

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Regression Analysis - Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)


Taking the Biological Oxygen Demand as the dependent variable and the distance of the
well from the disposal unit as well as the depth as the independent variables;

Table 7: Correlation between BOD and Depth


Depth
Depth

.240

Sig. (2-tailed)

.453

N
BOD

BOD

Pearson Correlation

12

12

Pearson Correlation

.240

Sig. (2-tailed)

.453

12

12

Table 8: Correlation between BOD and Distance

Pearson Correlation

Distance
-.102

Sig. (2-tailed)

.752

BOD
BOD

N
Distance

Pearson Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

12

12

-.102

.752

12

12

The two parameters showed a very weak correlation which is not significant. This means that the
BOD levels in the wells depended mostly on other factors other than depth and distance of the
well from a disposal unit. Since we have established that the correlation between BOD, depth and
distance is not significant, theres no need of carrying out a regression analysis on BOD.

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Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)

120

120

100

100

80

80

60

60

40

40

20

20

0
I

F2 MM W

E2

Concentration in mg/L

Depth & Distance in ft

Comparison between Depth, Distance and COD

Sampling Stations
Depth (ft)

Distance from nearest disposal unit (ft)

Average COD

Figure 10: A Graph of Depth, Distance and COD

Most of these wells with high COD values (e.g. well M, E, B, MM, E2 and R) had agricultural
activities being practised near the well. The two wells with the highest COD values, well MM and
E2, both had various agricultural activities being practised near them.
It is evident that some of the chemicals used for farming practises find their way to the well water.
Four of the six wells located more than 60ft from their respective disposal units had low COD
levels. Of the other two, well E2 had agricultural and animal rearing activities being practised
nearby while well B had various construction activities going on nearby.
Well F and I had reduced levels of COD as compared to other wells of similar depth. These two
wells were located at a considerable distance from disposal unit.
Well N recorded a lower level of COD, despite having a disposal unit very close to it. However,
this is the deepest well.

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Regression Analysis - Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)


Taking the Chemical Oxygen Demand as the dependent variable and the distance of the
well from the disposal unit as well as the depth as the independent variables;

Table 9: Correlation between COD and Distance


COD

Distance
Distance

Pearson Correlation

.009

Sig. (2-tailed)

.978

N
COD

12

11

Pearson Correlation

.009

Sig. (2-tailed)

.978

11

11

Table 10: Correlation between COD and Depth


Depth

COD
COD

Pearson Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

Depth

Pearson Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

-.043

.900

11

11

-.043

.900

11

12

The two parameters showed a very weak correlation which is not significant. This means that the
COD levels in the wells depended mostly on other factors other than depth and distance of the
well from a disposal unit. Since we have established that the correlation between COD, depth and
distance is not significant, theres no need of carrying out a regression analysis on COD.

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Nitrate Concentration

120

0.30

100

0.25

80

0.20

60

0.15

40

0.10

20

0.05

0.00
I

F2 MM W

E2

Sampling Stations
Depth (ft)

Distance from nearest disposal unit (ft)

NO3 Concentration in mg/L

Depth & Distance in ft

Comparison between Depth, Distance and Nitrate


Concentration

NO3 mg/L

Figure 11: A Graph of Depth, Distance and Nitrates

From the results obtained, all the wells in the area have nitrate contamination. Only 33.3% of them
have nitrate levels higher than 0.15mg/L. These wells (i.e. well E, J, E2 and R) are located in areas
where agricultural activities are practised.
The results indicated that the deep wells had lower levels of nitrate contamination, e.g. well N.
This showed that nitrate contamination in the wells depended more on the depth of the well as
opposed to the distance between the well and the disposal unit.

Regression Analysis Nitrates Concentration


Taking the nitrate concentration as the dependent variable and the depth as well as the distance of
the well from the disposal unit as the independent variables;
Table 11:Correlation between Nitrate concentration and Depth

Pearson Correlation

Depth
-.682(*)

Sig. (2-tailed)

.015

12

12

-.682(*)

.015

12

12

Nitrate
Nitrate

N
Depth

Pearson Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

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Table 12: Correlation between Nitrate concentration and Distance


Distance

Nitrate
Pearson Correlation

Nitrate

Sig. (2-tailed)

.219

.494

12

12

Pearson Correlation

.219

Sig. (2-tailed)

.494

12

12

N
Distance

This gives a correlation coefficient of -0.682 for depth and 0.219 for distance. This shows that
there is a strong correlation between the level of nitrate concentration and depth of the well, which
is negative. This means that generally, the level of nitrate concentration in wells decreases with
increase with depth of the well.
For the distance between the well and disposal unit, theres a very weak correlation of 0.219,
which implies that the level of nitrate concentration depends less on the distance of the well from a
disposal unit.
After establishing the correlation between nitrate concentration and the depth of the well, a scatter
diagram to show the distribution of nitrate concentration with depth of the well was plotted, and a
line of best fit drawn.
Table 13: Model Summary - Nitrates

Model
1

.682(a)
a Predictors: (Constant), Depth

R Square
.465

Adjusted R Square
.411

Std. Error of the


Estimate
.04846

The value of R2 means that 46.5% of the variation in nitrate concentration is dependent on depth
of the well. The remaining 53.5% of nitrate concentration variation depends on other factors like
slope of the land, soil characteristics of the area, groundwater level, activities practised near the
well and type of well cover.

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.3

Nitrate

.2

.1

Observed
Linear

0.0
20

30

40

50

60

70

Depth

Figure 12: Diagram showing correlation between Nitrates concentration and Depth of well

The outliers in the mid section of the graph prove that nitrate contamination of the wells does not
solely depend on the depth of the well, but also on other factors (such as slope of the land). But
this is sufficient to give a general flow of relation between the two factors and conclude that
nitrate concentration decreases with increase in depth of a well.

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Depth and Distance in ft

Comparison between Depth, Distance and Phosphorous


Concentration
120

0.2

100

0.15

80
60

0.1

40

0.05

20
0

0
I

F2 MM W

E2

Sampling Stations
Depth (ft)

Distance from nearest disposal unit (ft)

Phosphorous Concentration in mg/L

Phosphate Concentration

Phosphates mg/L

Figure 13: A Graph of Depth, Distance and Phosphates


The results obtained from the samples collected showed low levels of phosphates apart from 3
wells, well F2, MM and R, which recorded phosphate concentration levels of more than 0.06mg/L.
The rest of the wells generally had low levels of phosphates concentration.

Regression Analysis Phosphates Concentration


Table 14: Correlation between Phosphate Concentration and Distance

Pearson Correlation

Distance
-.281

Sig. (2-tailed)

.376

12

12

-.281

.376

12

12

Phosphates
Phosphates

N
Distance

Pearson Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

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Table 15: Correlation between Phosphate concentration and Depth


Depth

Phosphates
Phosphates

Pearson Correlation

.267

Sig. (2-tailed)

.402

12

12

Pearson Correlation

.267

Sig. (2-tailed)

.402

12

12

N
Depth

The two parameters showed a very weak correlation which is not significant. This means that the
levels of phosphorous concentration in the wells depended mostly on other factors other than
depth and distance of the well from a disposal unit e.g. the activities being practised near the well.
Since we have established that the correlation between phosphorous concentration, depth and
distance is not significant, theres no need of carrying out a regression analysis on phosphorous
concentration.
Well MM had the highest levels of phosphate contamination. On sampling this well, the owner
confirmed that she had not used the well for quite some time, almost 4 months.

Depth & Distance

Comparison between Depth, Distance and Ammonia


Concentration
120
100
80
60
40
20
0

0.8
0.6
0.4

Depth (ft)

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MM

Sampling Stations

Distance from nearest disposal unit (ft)

E2

0.2

Ammonia Concentration in mg/L

Ammonia Concentration

Average Ammonia

Figure 14: A Graph of Depth, Distance and Ammonia

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The wells with the highest levels of ammonia were wells B, MM and E2 whose concentration
exceeded 0.5mg/L. The wells with the lowest level of ammonia were wells I, F, M, J and R.
Again, these wells were located near disposal units as well as agricultural activities practised
nearby.

Regression Analysis Ammonia Concentration


Taking the ammonia concentration as the dependent variable and the depth as well as the
distance of the well from the disposal unit as the independent variables;

Table 16: Correlation between Ammonia Concentration and Depth


Depth

Ammonia
Ammonia

Pearson Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)

.024

.940

12

12

Pearson Correlation

.024

Sig. (2-tailed)

.940

12

12

N
Depth

Table 17: Correlation between Ammonia Concentration and Distance

Pearson Correlation

Distance
-.153

Sig. (2-tailed)

.635

Ammonia
Ammonia

N
Distance

Pearson Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

12

12

-.153

.635

12

12

The two parameters showed a very weak correlation which is not significant. This means that the
levels of ammonia concentration in the wells depended mostly on other factors other than depth
and distance of the well from a disposal unit e.g. the activities being practised near the well and
slope of the area.
The lack of correlation between the above named factors can be proven by the fact that some
wells located further away from the disposal units, e.g. wells F and M, had very low levels of
ammonia concentration, but still, well B (which was also located at a considerable distance from
the disposal unit) did have high ammonia levels.
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Turbidity

120

350

100

300
250

80

200

60

150

40

100

20

50

Turbidity in NTU

Depth and Distance in ft

Comparison between Depth, Distance and Turbidity

0
I

F2 MM

E2

Sampling Stations
Depth (ft)

Distance from nearest disposal unit (ft)

Turbidity

Figure 15: A Graph of Depth, Distance and Turbidity


The results show that most of the well samples collected had low turbidity. Only two wells out of
the twelve (well B and R) had turbidity levels higher than 150NTU.
Well B had the highest turbidity and it did not have any form of cover at the top. There were also
numerous construction activities going on near it. The high turbidity was caused by the entrance of
dust from the construction activities into the well.
Well R also had considerably high turbidity. There were several agricultural and animal rearing
activities going on near the well, but the well itself had a permanent concrete cover and a pump
was used to extract water from the well.
The high levels of turbidity could have been as a result of the pump sucking too deep into the well
and hence disturbing the solids at the bottom hence making the water more turbid.

Regression Analysis Turbidity


Taking the levels of turbidity as the dependent variable and the depth as well as the
distance of the well from the disposal unit as the independent variables;

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Table 18: Correlation between Turbidity and Depth


Depth

Turbidity
Turbidity

Pearson Correlation

.086

Sig. (2-tailed)

.791

N
Depth

12

12

Pearson Correlation

.086

Sig. (2-tailed)

.791

12

12

Table 19: Correlation between Turbidity and Distance


Distance

Turbidity
Turbidity

Pearson Correlation

.089

Sig. (2-tailed)

.784

N
Distance

12

12

Pearson Correlation

.089

Sig. (2-tailed)

.784

12

12

The two parameters did not show any significant correlation. This means that the turbidity of the
water in the wells depended mostly on other factors other than depth and distance of the well from
a disposal unit e.g. the activities being practised near the well such as construction, slope of the
area or pump sucking too deep into the well (e.g. well R)

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4.3 Discussion
Correlation between Faecal coliform, Nitrates, Depth and Distance of well from Disposal unit
From the analysis done and the results gotten, it is evident that the two parameters under
investigation, i.e. depth of well and distance from nearest disposal unit, directly affect determine
the variation of contamination of wells with respect to faecal contamination and nitrate
concentration. The table below shows the correlation between the four:Table 20: Correlations

Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)

.008

-.818(**)

.219

.980

.001

.494

12

12

12

12

.008

.121

-.682(*)

.980

.708

.015

12

12

12

12

-.818(**)

.121

-.239

.001

.708

.455

12

12

12

12

.219

-.682(*)

-.239

.494

.015

.455

12

12

12

12

N
Depth

Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

Coliform

Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

Nitrate

Nitrate

Coliform

Depth

Distance
Distance

Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
N

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).


* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
This showed that the distance of the well from a disposal unit and the level of faecal
contamination had the most significant correlation of 0.818, followed by that of the depth of a
well and the level of nitrate concentration of -0.682. The two correlations were both inversely
related meaning that an increase in both distance and depth translated to decreased contamination.
Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)
According to Hammer and Hammer (2003), a BOD of 1mg/L is found for pure water, and 3mg/l
considered fairly pure but BOD of 5mg/L is the threshold for drinking water. The results from the
tests done in the area showed that most wells had high BOD. The high BOD level means that
oxygen in the water is more rapidly depleted by micro-organisms present in the water. The sources
of these micro-organisms are the disposal units located near the wells or direct entry of the microorganisms for wells that did not have covers.

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From the results, it is evident that the wells with high levels of BOD are either very shallow (e.g.
Well E and J) or very close to disposal units (e.g. well N, R and E2). Most of these microorganisms that consumed oxygen in the well water come from the disposal unit located near the
wells, no wonder well F had lower BOD levels because it was located further away from a
disposal unit.

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)


According to the Kenyan standards, well water should have a COD value of less than 50mg/L.
However, 50% of the wells sampled show COD values greater than 50mg/L. This indicated
chemical contamination of the wells which had its sources from the disposal units near the wells,
fertilizers used farming and storm water run-off.
Also, chemicals from domestic waste water (e.g. from detergents) are disposed in the cesspools
and/or poured out within the plots. Some chemicals are also drained by the storm water (e.g. from
the carwash near well I). These chemicals later on contribute in the contamination of the well
water.
High levels of COD in wells E and E2 could be traced back to the animal rearing activities being
practised in the areas near these wells. The use of pesticides and insecticides in treating these
animals contributes to the chemical contamination of the wells.
The fact that well N recorded lower levels of COD, despite it being very close to a disposal unit,
shows that most of the chemical contamination does not come from the disposal unit but from the
fertilizers and pesticides used for agricultural purposes.

Faecal Coliform
According to both the W.H.O and the KEBS, water should not have any traces of faecal coliform,
especially drinking water.
The results show that all the wells are contaminated with faecal coliform, with more than 50% of
them having more than 50 counts/100mL. Thus, this renders the water unsafe for drinking.
The presence of faecal coliform in the well water clearly indicates the contamination of the wells
by the disposal units. This could be directly from pit latrines of from leakages in cesspools.
All the wells with high levels of faecal coliform contamination were located at a distance less than
60ft. This clearly showed that faecal contamination depended directly on the distance of the well
from a disposal unit.
Results from the regression analysis show that the data obtained in this study strongly supports the
hypothesis (H1), that faecal contamination in wells increases with decrease in distance between
the well and the disposal unit.
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Nitrates
The nitrate concentration in groundwater is normally low but can reach very high levels as a result
of leaching or runoff from agricultural land together with contamination from human or animal
wastes. (Laftouhi et al. 2003).
Nitrate contamination did not depend on the distance of the well from a disposal unit. This
translates to the level of nitrate contamination coming from other activities near the well e.g.
agriculture and animal rearing.
Fertilizers used in the small farms and pesticides used on animals are one of the main sources of
the nitrate presence in the well water. Another source is the human waste from the disposal units
in the area.
Results from the regression analysis show that the data obtained in this study strongly supports the
hypothesis (H2), that nitrate concentration in wells increases with decrease in depth of a well.

Ammonia
Ammonia mostly occurs from the biological degradation of nitrogenous matter (e.g. amino acids).
This can be from agricultural fertilizers, urea production or anthropogenic emissions. Wells that
recorded high levels of nitrates and BOD also recorded high levels of ammonia, since ammonia is
formed as a result of nitrification of nitrates. This is evident in wells E2 and B.
The standards from the KEBS for sources of domestic water require a maximum value of 0.5m/L.
Of all the 12 wells sampled, only 3 wells (25%) had their ammonia levels exceed the maximum
allowable value.

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5 Chapter Five: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS


5.1 Conclusions
The variability of well water quality between regions is a function of well characteristics,
distances to potential contamination sources and hydrogeologic and site characteristics. The latter
characteristics include the following:
i.

On-site agricultural chemical use, which is related to land use

ii.

Distribution and occurrence of groundwater, which control the depth of the well and
many of the well characteristics

iii.

Soil and landscape characteristics, which influence not only land use, but also the
movement of water and its associated contaminants to the groundwater system.
(Gosselin, D.C et al, 1997)

The study was a success as the respective objectives defined earlier on were achieved. Some of the
results from the study resembled those of a previous study done in Nebraska (quoted above).A
total of 12 sampling stations were selected where water samples were collected, analyzed, tested
and compared to the water standards set out by the Kenyan Bureau of Standards (KEBS) as well
as the World Health Organization (WHO). The wells indicated varied level of contamination from
different sources; hence the following conclusions were made:

The results from the laboratory tests and the site investigations showed contamination of
well water with faecal bacteria, nitrates, phosphates, ammonia and oxygen demanding
micro-organisms.

Most of the contamination parameters tested exceeded the maximum values of the
standards set out by the Kenyan Bureau of Standards as well as the World Health
Organization

The unsewered sanitation system had direct impact on the well water in the area

Well water pollution increases with


i.

Decreasing distance between the well and the nearest disposal unit (especially for
faecal coliform contamination)

ii.

Decreasing depth of well (especially for nitrate concentration)

iii.

Location of well further down slope.

5.2 Recommendations
To control the pollution of well water in the area, the following measures should be employed:

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Providing the estate residents with clean piped water for domestic use, especially for
drinking purposes

Plans should be put in place to design and construct a sewer system for the rapidly
growing estate so as to efficiently dispose the waste to a treatment plant and minimize
groundwater pollution

Measures should be taken to improve the faecal contamination by improving conditions


around individual wells. Wells should be located, if possible, up slope at the furthest
distance from potential contamination sources.

Sanitary surveys for existing wells and before installation of new wells should be
strongly encouraged to minimize the effect of point source contamination.

In areas where irrigated agriculture is common and non-point contamination is likely,


application of best management practises will help improve well water quality.

Substantial caution should be used when applying pesticides and/or insecticides to both
plants and domestic animals, especially when depths to groundwater are minimal. There
should be adequate control of agricultural chemical use near wells

Enforce standards and regulations for the proper construction of disposal unit that have
proper lining to minimize leakage of effluent

Educating the community on the dangers of polluting the well water of the area, activities
that contribute to the pollution of well water as well as the mitigation measures to
minimize the same

Enforcing laws to observe the minimum distance between a water well and disposal unit
in accordance to the Kenyan Standards of protecting groundwater

Encouraging the use of water purifiers if the well water has to be used for drinking
purposes. This can also be coupled with constructing affordable sand filters to be used to
purify the well waters

Continuous monitoring of the ground water to ascertain that the pollution levels are
minimized as much as possible so as to still have the ground water as valuable and usable
resource

Further study on this subject, especially on the other parameters such as slope of the land,
type of activities being practised near the well, type of well cover and level of
groundwater.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY/REFERENCES
British Geological Survey 2004, Water Quality Fact Sheet: Nitrate, NERC 2004.
Chapman D 2003, Water Quality Assessments, 2nd Edition (A guide to the biota, sediments and
water in environmental monitoring). Chapter 9.4.1
Gosselin, D.C et al 1997, Domestic Well Water Quality in Rural Nebraska: Focus on NitrateNitrogen, Pesticides and coliform bacteria, pg. 80 86.
Groundwater Protection Code: Use and Construction of Septic Tanks and other Non-mains
Sewerage
http://www.groundwater.org/gi/sourcesofgwcontam.html (25th May, 2010)
http://www.wikimapia.org/Ruiru (14th June, 2010)
http://www.plumbing-basics.com (14th June, 2010)
http://www.crcwater.org/index.html (27th June, 2010)
www.grc.nasa.gov/fenlewis/home.htm(27th June,2010)
Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 68, Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Water
Quality) Regulations, 2006, Legislative Supplement No. 36.
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2009, Kenya 2009 Population and Housing Census
Highlights
Kiptum, C.K & Ndambuki, J.M 2008, Well water contamination by pit latrines: A case study of
Langas;a peri-urban settlement of Eldoret Town, Kenya.
Krantz D. and Kifferstein B, 2005, Water Pollution and Society.
Linda J.A 1999, Seasonal Correlation of Well Contamination and Septic Tank Distance
Michael Muriithi, 2009. Purification of well water in Juja using locally natural materials
Membley Welfare Association site office in Membley Estate.
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Prof. Thumbi (2009), Public Health Engineering, Lecture notes


Robens Centre for Public and Environmental Health, University of Surrey,2009
Shun Dar Lin, C.C. Lee,Water and Wastewater calculations manual
Spellman F.R 2003, Handbook of Water and Waste water Treatment Plant Operations, Lewis
Publishers.
Terence J. McGhee 2003,Water Supply and Sewerage 6th Edition
Tebutt, T.H.Y 1983, Principles of Water Quality Control, Pergamon 3rd edition.
Water for the World Technical Note No. SAN 2.D.2

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APPENDIX
TABLES OF WATER QUALITY STANDARDS
Table 21: Kenya Water Quality Regulations Standards (KEBS)

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Table 22: WHO Drinking Water Guidelines

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EXPERIMENT PROCEDURES
Faecal Coliform Test Membrane Filtration Method
Apparatus

Filtering Unit

Incubator

Membrane Filter

Petri Dishes and petri dish carrier

Membrane Pad

Forceps

Autoclave

Reagents

Laurayl Sulphate Broth Prepared by dissolving 7.6g of Laurayl Sulphate Broth in


100mL of distilled water

Procedure
1.

The petri dishes, forceps and the broth solution were sterilized in the autoclave for
15minutes at 121C.

2.

The filtration assembly was set up and the filter membrane placed on the vacuum flask.

3.

100mL of the sample was filtered through the filtering unit.

4.

An excess of 2.5mL of the broth solution was poured into the petri dishes and the
membrane pad soaked in the solution for some minutes.

5.

The membrane filter was placed on the soaked membrane pad with the grid side facing
the upper side. Care was taken to avoid trapping air in between the two membranes.

6.

The petri dishes were stacked on the petri dish carrier and incubated for 16 24 hours.

7.

For faecal coliform analysis, the samples were incubated at 44C and 37C for total
coliform analysis

Counting
1.

The petri dishes carrier was removed from the incubator and the petri dishes removed
from the carrier.

2.

The colonies formed were counted and recorded as counts/100mL. Where the colonies
were too close to each other, a magnifying glass was used.

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3.

The pale yellow colonies that faded to translucent on cooling were not counted

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) Titration Method


Reagents
1.

Manganese sulphate solution. Mnso4.7h20.

2.

Alkaline azide iodide solution

3.

Sulphuric acid solution

4.

Starch indicator

5.

Standard sodium thio-sulphate solution, 0.025N

Procedure
1.

Dilution water was prepared and aerated for an hour.

2.

200mL of sample with appropriate dilution was prepared and collected in a beaker

3.

1ml of manganese sulphate was added to the sample while stirring.

4.

1ml of alkaline azide iodide was then added to the sample whilst stirring and a precipitate
was formed.

5.

1ml of concentrated sulphuric acid was then added to the mixture to dissolve the
precipitate.

6.

5 drops of starch indicator were added to the mixture. At that point the mixture turned
blue-black colour.

7.

The mixture was then titrated against standard sodium thio-sulphate solution and the
amount of titrant used was recorded as DO1.

8.

A similar amount of sample was prepared and incubated for 5 days at 20C, then titrated
as stated above. The amount of titrant used was recorded as DO5.

Calculations
BOD5 = (1 5)/

Where P = Amount of Sample/Volume of bottle

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Ammonia Test (DPD Method)


Apparatus
1.

Photometer set at 640nm

2.

10mL round test tube

Reagents
1.

Palintest Ammonia No.1 tablets

2.

Palintest Ammonia No.2 tablets

Procedure
1.

The test tube was filled with the sample to the 10ml mark

2.

One ammonia No 1 and one Ammonia No.2 tablet were added, crushed and mixed to
dissolve

3.

The solution was then let for ten minutes to allow colour development

4.

A wavelength of 640nm was selected on the photometer

5.

The photometer reading (% T) was then taken in the usual manner

The ammonia calibration chart was then consulted to find the Ammonia concentration in the
sample.

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) Open Reflux Method


Reagents:
1.

Distilled water

2.

Standard potassium dichromate solution, 0.025N

3.

Sulphuric acid concentrated reagent containing silver sulphate

4.

Standard ferrous ammonium sulphate, 0.025N

5.

Powdered mercuric sulphate

6.

Phenanthroline ferrous sulphate (indicator)

Apparatus:
1.

Reflux apparatus with ground glass joint

2.

250ml Erlenmeyer flask with ground glass joints

3.

Pipettes

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Procedure:
1.

50ml of the sample was placed in 500ml refluxing flask.

2.

1gm of mercuric sulphate, several glass beads were added into the solution. 5ml of
H2SO4 (concentrated sulphuric acid) was added slowly while mixing to dissolve the
mercuric acid.

3.

The sample was mixed while cooling to avoid possible losses of volatile materials.

4.

25ml of 0.0471M K2Cr2O7 solution was added and mixed thoroughly.

5.

The samples were then transferred to the Liebig condenser apparatus. The remaining
sulphuric acid reagent (70ml) was then added through the open end of the condenser.

6.

The samples were continuously stirred while adding the acid reagent.

7. The reflux mixture was mixed thoroughly by applying heat to prevent local
heating of the flask bottom and a possible blow out of the flask contents.
8. The open end of the condenser was covered with a foil to prevent foreign
materials from entering the refluxing mixture.
9. Refluxing was then carried out for 2hours.
10. The condenser was thereafter cooled and washed down using distilled water.
11. The reflux was then disconnected and diluted to about twice its original volume
with distilled water.
12. This mixture was then cooled to room temperature (due to the exothermic nature
of the reaction). The excess k2cr2o7 was then titrated using FAS using 0.10.15ml (2 to 3 drops) ferroin indicator.
13. The same volume of ferroin indicator was used for all titrations.
14. The end point of the reaction was taken as the first sharp change in colour, from
blue-green to reddish brown.
15. Similarly a blank of equal volume to sample, distilled water was titrated against
FAS.

Calculations:
COD = ((A-B) x m x 8000)/mL of sample
Where: A = ml, FAS used for blank water
B = ml, FAS used for sample water
m = molarity of the FAS
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PLATES

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