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J. Bio. & Env. Sci.


Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences (JBES)

ISSN: 2220-6663 (Print) 2222-3045 (Online)
Vol. 11, No. 1, p. 266-273, 2017


Water quality and risk assessment of tributary rivers in San

Fernando, Bukidnon Philippines

Van Ryan Kristopher R. Galarpe*1, Kristal Jane L. Heyasa2, Brawner Brian L. Heyasa3

Department of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Science and Technology of


Southern Philippines, Philippines

Bachelor of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Northern Philippines, Philippines

Department of Electronics Engineering, University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines,



Article published on July 30, 2017

Key words: San Fernando, Bukidnon, Tigua river, Salug river, River tributaries, Heavy metals

Bukidnon, Philippines being identified as an agricultural province needs to ensure water sustainability vital to
support its agroeconomy. This study considered Tigua River with three river tributaries and Salug River with
single station in San Fernando, Bukidnon. Analysis employed single sampling technique to initially assess river
tributaries. Studied water quality parameters were pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), oxidizing redox
potential (ORP), turbidity, salinity, conductivity, total dissolved solids (TDS) using portable pre-calibrated
meters. Nitrates were also determined using Bruccine colorimetric method. Analyzed heavy metals in total
form were copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), and chromium (Cr) using Flame-Atomic absorption
spectrophometry (AAS). Overall, studied river tributaries passed national regulation with risk quotient (RQ)
showing no potential pollution. Heavy metals were below detection limit indicating less traceable quantities in
river tributaries. Salinity, conductivity, and TDS showed positive correlation. The study was preliminary and
further monitoring may be needed.
*Corresponding Author: Van Ryan Kristopher R. Galarpe 

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Introduction In particular, the munipicality of San Fernando had

The province of Bukidnon coined as the watersheds of been studied to have a new species and new records of
Mindanao, Philippines (Broad and Cavanagh, 1988) the genus Doliops Waterhouse, 1841 (Coleoptera:
have a total of alienable and disposable land of Cerambycidae) (Barševskis, 2014; Cabras and
336,412 ha (40.56%) while 492,966 ha are forestland. Barševskis, 2016). Similarly, Tigua River had been
Covered in these land classification are two major studied to be one of the diverse rivers in Bukidnon
river watersheds, namely, Salug and Pulangi with gastropod species (Galan et al., 2015). Despite
(Sumbalan et al., 2001). The major river tributary to the existing studies on biodiversity no specific
these watersheds are the Tigua River as the water published study dealt on water quality of these river
source for Pulangi and the Salug River as the water tributaries. Thus, this study was conducted to provide
source for the Salug River watershed and the Davao a preliminary study on river tributary water quality in
River on the further south. Both rivers are located in San Fernando, Bukidnon. The objectives were to
the munipality of San Fernando, an agricultural and determine selected physicochemical water quality
forested area in the province of Bukidnon. paramters, determine its status with reference to
standards, and to derive environmental risk
As a major tributary of the river watersheds in the assessment (e.g. risk quotient and river comparison).
province of Bukidnon, a need to secure its water
resources upstream is viewed essential. In the past Materials and methods
this municipality had experienced deforestation, Sampling site
flashflood, and drought prompting civil groups and The study site consisted of three sub rivers of Tigua river
activists to rally for environmental protection and one station in Salug river (Fig. 1-2 & Table 1). The
(Bautista, 2001) which were successful as measure of Tigua river is the main river tributary of Pulangi river in
conservation efforts. However, no available studies Bukidnon while Salug river is the tributary river of
were conductedto evaluate present institutional Davao river. Both water bodies were located in San
arrangements for sustainable river water quality or Fernando, Bukidnon. The coordinates of the study sites
watersheds. were identified using GPS EtREX 20 (Table 1).

Table 1. Description of studied river tributaries in San Fernando, Bukidnon Philippines.

River Station Description Specific Locations Barangays Latitude Longitude
code adjacent to the
Salug S1 Salug San Jose river stream to San Jose E 125023.743' N 07045.297'
Bridge Salug river
Tigua T1 Bonacao river stream from Davao Bonacao E 1250 23.854' N 070 47.951'
Bridge Region-Bonacao Sto Domingo
T2 Supitan intersection of 2 river Namnam E 125022.539' N 07050.331'
Bridge 2 streams from Kibungkog Iglugsad
and Bonacao
T3 Halapitan 6 km from Pulangi river Halapitan E 125019.867' N 070 55.539

a b
Fig. 1. a) Salug river station (S1) and b) the Tigua river tributary station (T1).

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Physicochemical analyses
The turbidity meter LaMotte 2020 was used to
analyze the turbidity of the water samples. The pH,
temperature, conductivity, sanility, TDS, and ORP
were analyzed using Oyster meter. The DO of the
water samples were analyzed using Acorn Series DO
Meter OAKION Manufacturing (code 01X555902).
The analyses of Pb, Cd, Cu, Cr, and nitrates were
conducted in the FAST Laboratories. The Pb in total
form was analyzed using 3030 E. Nitric acid
digestion/3111 B. Direct air acetylene Flame AAS
method. The Cd, Cu, and Cr in total form were
analyzed using 3030 F. Nitric acid-hydrochloric acid
digestion/3111 B. Direct air-acetylene Flame AAS
method, respectively. Nitrates was analyzed using
973.50 Bruccine colorimetric method. All samples
Fig. 2. Map of the study site in San Fernando, were analyzed in triplicates. Methods of analyses
Bukidnon. Tigua river consisted of three river were adopted from AOAC International (2012) and
tributaries connecting towards Pulangi River. Salug APHA-AWWA and WEF (2012).
river station outflow towards Davao river.
Data Analyses
One Way-ANOVA was employed to compare the
Sampling technique
physicochemical parameters in all study sites at 0.05
One grab sampling on January 1, 2017 was employed
level of significance. The Pearson correlation was
in this study. All containers used were polyethylene
similarly used to determine association among
bottles (PET) prewashed with distilled water three
parameters studied. Further, all results were
times. Upon sampling the container itself were
expressed in terms of mean. To derive an
washed three times with the river water prior to
environmental risk estimate all results were subjected
sample collection and processing in the laboratory. to Risk Quotient (RQ) analysis. The RQ was
Surface river waters were taken from four sampling calculated as the ratio between the determined
stations approximately 3-5 m from the above ground. concentration and the available standard (GEF/
Collected samples were subjected to lower UNDP/IMO, 2004). The calculated RQ of >1 can
temperature, preventing chemical absorption and ion gauge the physiochemical parameter to likely pose
interference prior to heavy metal analyses (Galarpe environmental risk. The DAO 35 standard was used
and Parilla, 2014). for estimating RQ in river water samples (Table 2).

Table 2. Reference standard in the study.

Standard Description
Public Water Supply Class I. This class is intended primarily for waters having watersheds
DENR/DAO 34 which are uninhabited and otherwise protected and which require only approved
Class AA disinfection in order to meet the National Standards for Drinking Water (NSDW) of the
Public Water Supply Class II. For source of water supply that will require complete
treatment (coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection) in order to meet the
Class A
PNSDW (2007) Drinking water guideline

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Results and discussion quality studies in the Philippines (Galarpe and Parilla,
Physicochemical analyses 2012; Galarpe and Parilla, 2014; Achas et al., 2016).
The overall physicochemical parameters were Nonetheless, these parameters were within the normal
relatively comparable. Both temperature (27-28 deg range/standard set.
C) and pH ( 6-7) were of the same range.Considerably
the DO concentrations were low in stations T2 and Overall trend showed higher turbidity levels among
T3, consequently below the DENR Class AA river tributaries adjacent to central district of San
standard.Both river tributatries were located adjacent Fernando, specifically T2 and T3. This can be
to the populated area in San Fernando, Bukidnon. attributed from dust deposition and anthropogenic
Anthropogenic water pollutants in a form of organic runoffs from adjacent communities. Study in the past
matter discharges from adjacent community may similarly showed Tigua sub-watershed with the
have contributed to lower DO levels (Chapman, highest soil accumulation at 181.25 ton/ha/yr (Marin
1996). The higher conductivity, salinity, and TDS and Jamis, 2016).On the other hand, studied metals
concentrations were recorded in T2 and T3 as (Pb, Cd, Cu, and Cr) were below the detection limit
compared to S1 and T1. Conductivity may indicate whereas nitrates were within the range 0.75-1.66
potential levels of ions in water (Chapman, 1996) and ppm. The nitrates level were higher in S1, site
TDS can be associated to carbonates in water samples distinctively sorrounded by agriculutral land (e.g. rice
(Pip, 2000). Both inorganic and organic chemical fields and banana). Consequently, nitrogen leaching
attributes affecting TDS, salinity, and conductivity from ploughed land area to river catchment may
can be induced by anthropogenic discharges from increase nitrate concentration (Neill, 1989; Schilling
populated area. Strong associaion of TDS, conductivity, et al., 2000; Boithias et al. 2014). Summary of results
and salinity were similarly determined by other water is shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Summary of the physicochemical analyses of tributary river water.

River Standard
Parameter DENR
Class AA
pH 6.7 6.8 6.7 6.7 6.5-8.5 6.5-8.5
Temp (deg C) 27.2 27.1 27.3 27.6 - -
DO (ppm) 9.87 9.45 4.25 3.9 5.0 -
ORP(mV) 24 24 22 24.7 - -
Conductivity (uS/cm) 179 204 194 205 - -
Salinity (ppm) 90 102 98 102 - -
TDS (ppm) 121 137 130 136 500 500
Turbidity (ntu) 11.2 1.12 10.4 32.9 - 5
Pb (ppm) <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 0.01 0.05
Cd (ppm) <0.003 <0.003 <0.003 <0.003 0.003 0.01
Cu (ppm) <0.03 <0.03 <0.03 <0.03 1.0 1.0
Cr (ppm) <0.03 <0.03 <0.03 <0.03 0.05 -
Nitrates (ppm) 1.66 0.97 1.01 0.75 7 50

Statistical comparison ORP, TDS, salinity, conductivity, and turbidity in T2

Overall, studied physicochemical parameters showed and T3. Further, the correlation analysis (see Table 5)
significant difference (p <0.05) among river showed strong association among parameters of
tributaries (see Table 4). Statistical results using conductivity-salinity (r = 0.99), salinity-TDS (r
ANOVA confirmed site specific variation with =0.99), and conductivity-TDS (r =1) in all studied
elevated concentrations for pH, temperature, DO, river tributaries (Table 3).

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Present findings were in agreement with the studies Considerably, temperature and turbidity showed
of Köse et al. (2014) and Tokatli et al. (2014) on positive correlation (r = 0.98). River tributary with
stream waters showing positive correlation higher temperature had higher turbidity, indicating
between TDS, conductivity, and salinity. anthropogenic influence to water quality.

Table 4. ANOVA of the physicochemical parameters in river tributaries.

Parameter F-value p-value F-critical Decision
pH 5.507937 0.023942 4.066181 Significant difference
Temp 27.27778 0.000149 4.066181 Significant difference
DO 112.4677 7.02E-07 4.066181 Significant difference
ORP 6.857143 0.013319 4.066181 Significant difference
TDS 456.1349 2.8E-09 4.066181 Significant difference
Salinity 733.2046 4.24E-10 4.066181 Significant difference
Conductivity 437.416 3.31E-09 4.066181 Significant difference
Turbidity 1225.94 5.46E-11 4.066181 Significant difference

Table 5. Correlation coefficient analysis of the physicochemical parameters in river tributaries.

Parameters pH Temp DO ORP Conductivity Salinity TDS Turbidity Nitrates
pH 1 -0.62 0.53 0.19 0.47 0.47 0.54 -0.63 -0.22
Temp 1 -0.81 0.28 0.36 0.33 0.27 0.98 -0.53
DO 1 0.28 -0.44 -0.47 -0.4 -0.68 0.69
ORP 1 0.23 0.14 0.21 0.43 -0.05
Conductivity 1 0.99 1 0.25 -0.95
Salinity 1 0.99 0.20 -0.96
TDS 1 0.16 -0.93
Turbidity 1 -0.39
Nitrates 1

Risk assessment temperature with RQ =1 were mainly due to lowest

The RQ values (Table 6) for all studied river reference standard although the results were
tributaries showed no potential risk with reference within the regulations. It can be extrapolated that
to DENR Class AA and A water standards, and T1, T2, T3, and S1 had good river water quality
PNSDW (2007). The values for pH and during the sampling.

Table 6. RQ of selected physicochemical parameters in studied river tributaries.

S1 T1 T2 T3
1.03- 1.03- 1.03- 1.03- 1.03- 1.03- 1.03- 1.03- 1.03- 1.03- 1.03- 1.03-
0.79 0.79 0.79 0.79 0.79 0.79 0.79 0.79 0.79 0.79 0.79 0.79
1.04- 1.04- 1.03- 1.04- 1.04- 1.03- 1.05- 1.05- 1.03- 1.06- 1.06- 1.03-
0.91 0.91 0.79 0.90 0.90 0.79 0.91 0.91 0.79 0.92 0.92 0.79
TDS 0.24 0.12 0.24 0.14 0.27 0.27 0.26 0.13 0.26 0.27 0.14 0.27
Nitrates 0.23 0.23 0.03 0.14 0.14 0.019 0.14 0.14 0.015 0.11 0.11 0.015

Comparison to Philippine rivers These rivers were adjacent to agricultural lands and
Compared parameters were pH, TDS, DO, and located primarily in the same region exhibiting
nitrates which were common analyses in studied comparable pH. The TDS were similarly comparable
rivers in the Philippines. Distinctively, the pH of S1, to Labo and Clarin Rivers (Labajo-Villantes, 2014)
T1, T2, and T3 were relatively comparable to Labo and Mama River (Martinez et al., 2011) which were
and Clarin Rivers (Labajo-Villantes, 2014). all located in agricultural areas.

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The DO in T1 and S1 were comparable to Mananga (Martinez et al., 2011) indicating less anthropogenic
River (Flores and Zafaralla, 2012), Labo and Clarin impacts. The nitrate levels were comparable to other
Rivers (Labajo-Villantes, 2014) and Mama River cited river studies (Table 7).

Table 7. Comparison of selected physicochemical properties of river tributaries.

River pH TDS DO Nitrates Reference
Tigua River, Bukidnon This study
T1 6.7 137 9.45 0.97
T2 6.8 130 4.25 1.01
T3 6.7 136 3.9 0.75
Salug River, Bukidnon
S1 6.7 121 9.87 1.66
Butuanon River, Cebu Maglangit et al. (2014)
Upstream 7.17 392.67 4.43 2.07
Midstream 7.60 536.67 0.10 0.16
Downstream 7.26 558.83 0.07 0.06
Buhisan River, Cebu 7.2-7.6 - 0.07-4.4 - Maglangit et al. (2015)
Bulacao River, Cebu 7.4-8.0 - 2.1-8.1 - Maglangit et al. (2015)
Lahug River, Cebu 7.4-7.7 - 0-6.5 - Maglangit et al. (2015)
Mananga River, Cebu 8.03-8.76 - 5.45-6.87 2.28-3.15 Flores and Zafaralla (2012)
Pampanga River, Pampanga 8.29 - 4.37 5.38 Arbotante et al. (2015)
Mamba River, Southern Luzon 8.1 210 6.77 - Martinez et al. (2011)
Labo River 6.40 -8.27 27.0 -71.0 2.40-10.60 0.13 - Labajo-Villantes (2014)
Clarin River, 3.90-11.20 0.90
Misamis Occidental

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