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Volume   Journal
I Number 2 2010 for Environmental Rehabilitation and Conservation
Volume I No. 2 2010
[ISSN 0975 - 6272] [61-67] [ISSNNavneet
Kumar, 0975 - 6272] 

  Variation of fluoride and correlation with alkalinity in groundwater of

  shallow and deep aquifers

Kumar, Navneet

Received: August 22, 2010 ⏐ Accepted: September 21, 2010 ⏐ Online: November 27, 2010

Abstract Introduction
Fluoride in water is an essential element for The occurrence of high fluoride
human beings and its deficiency as well as high concentrations in groundwater is a problem
concentration both is injurious to human health. It faced by many countries, notably India, Sri
is required for the protection against dental caries Lanka and China, the Rift Valley countries in
and weakening of bones. Groundwater in shallow East Africa, Turkey and parts of South Africa.
aquifers that supply water to dugwells in and Fluoride epidemic has been reported in as
around Dhampur, Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, many as 19 Indian states and Union
has higher concentrations of fluoride (F) than Territories. India is one among the 23 nations
those of borewells from deep aquifers. Factors for in the world, where fluoride contaminated
variation in fluoride content between the two groundwater is creating health problems. The
aquifer water types are discussed. The relative state of Art Report of UNICEF confirms the
merits of the shallow water for potability are fluoride problem in 177 districts of 20 states
pointed out with respect to fluoride in India. The high fluoride levels in drinking
concentrations and public health. Fluoride occurs water and its impacts on human health have
in almost all natural water supplies. Fluorides in increased the importance of defluoridation
high concentrations are not a common constituent studies (Adler, 1970; Bhussry, 1970 and EPA,
of surface water, but they may occur in 1975). The magnitude of the problem is
deterimental concentrations in ground waters. sinking in and effects are being made towards
defluoridation of drinking water, combating
Keywords: Flouride ⏐ Groundwater⏐ Aquifers⏐
the debilitating fluorosis and taking steps to
prevent and control the disease (AMA, 1975;
Chand, 1999 and Hodge, 1965).

For Correspondence: Fluoride is well recognized as an element of

public health concern. Fluoride is present
Department of Applied Science, universally in almost every water (higher
College of Engineering, Teerthankar Mahaveer concentrations are found in groundwater),
University, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
earth crust, many minerals, rocks etc. It is also
present in most of everyday needs, viz.

Variation of fluoride and correlation with alkalinity in groundwater of shallow and deep aquifers
Volume I Number 2 2010 [61-67]
[ISSN 0975 - 6272] Kumar, Navneet

toothpastes, drugs, cosmetics, chewing gums, triangular stretch of country with its apex to
mouthwashes and so on (Subha Rao, 1997 the north. The western boundary is formed
and Thatte, 1994). Though a small amount of throughout by the deep stream of the river
it is beneficial for human health for Ganges, beyond which lie the four districts of
preventing dental carries, it is very harmful Dehradun, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar and
when present in excess of 1.0 ppm. World Meerut. The Dhampur is a municipal board in
Health Organization (WHO) and IS: 10500 Bijnor district in the state of Uttar Pradesh,
recommend that the fluoride content in India. One of the largest sugar producers in
drinking water should be in the range of 1.0- India, Dhampur Sugar mills, is located here.
1.5 ppm. An intake of more than 6 ppm of Dhampur’s main economy is based on
fluoride results in multidimensional health agriculture, mainly sugarcane, wheat, and
manifestations, the most common being paddy. Hand-woven textile items produced by
dental and skeletal fluorosis (Hubner, 1969 the weavers living in surrounding areas are
and Ramamohana, 1974). Higher known for their utility and designs.
concentration of fluoride also causes
Site location and Climatology
respiratory failure, fall of blood pressure and
general paralysis. Loss of weight, anorexia, Dhampur is situated, between latitude
anemia, wasting and cochexia are among the 29°19′N and 78°31′E and longitude 29 32°N
common findings in chronic fluoride and 78 52°E at 216 meters above the sea
poisoning. Continuous ingestion of non-fatal level (Figure 1). The study area has an
dose of fluorides causes permanent inhibition average monthly temperature varying 41.9oC
of growth. Fluoride ions inhibit a variety of maximum in summer and 3.2oC in winter.
enzymes often by forming complexes with Average weather condition allow to recognize
magnesium ions and other metal ions six well-marked traditional seasons, i.e.
(Ramesam, 1985; Rao et al. 1973 and Subha spring (March-April), summer (May-June),
Rao, 1992). monsoon (July-August), sharada (Sep-Oct),
hemanta (Nov-Dec) and winter (Jan-Feb).
Bijnor occupies the north-west corner of the The average annual rainfall variation is
Moradabad Division and is a roughly between 1122 and 1054 mm/year.
78 31’ 78 52’
0 0
29 19’ 29 32’



Nahtaur Sherkot


dy a


Tajpur Figure 1. Base map and location map of 
dugwells and borewells in and around 
Sahaspur Dugwell

Dhampur, Bijnor 

Variation of fluoride and correlation with alkalinity in groundwater of shallow and deep aquifers
Volume I Number 2 2010 [61-67]
[ISSN 0975 - 6272] Kumar, Navneet

Geology thoroughly with the groundwater (Brown et

Some lethofacies of the deposits of Ganga al. 1974 and Soman, 1977). pH was measured
Plain, are Mottled Silt, thick sheet like or using digital meter immediately after
lensoid units of well-sorted silt with little clay sampling. The fluoride concentration was
fraction. It represents sheet flow deposits on determined by Ion-Selective Electrode
the higher sloping surface (Soman, 1977; method. This is the most convenient method
Appelo and Postma, 2005), Variegated for estimation of Fluoride, down to 10-5M
Clayey silt, thick, highly mottled clay rich (0.2 mg/lit), which can be stretched to 10-6M
sediment with intense burrowing showing under optimum conditions. It is based on
clay coated sand grains, small mud pebbled, potentiometric measurements with a
furriginization and ferruginous nodules. This membrane electrode consisting of a single
represent diagenetically modified sandy silt or crystal of Europium doped Lanthanum
silty, sand sediments, which can be laterally fluoride, LaF3. The purpose of Eu doping is
traced for 50-100m (Lehr et al. 1980). The to improve electrical conductivity (APHA,
shallow aquifer yields groundwater at an 1998; Merck, 1974).
average rate of 20 m3/day through dugwells Result
and the deep aquifer has average yields of 105
Table:1 shows the concentration of fluoride in
m3/day day through borewells, due to
ppm and pH of groundwater from dugwells
variations in their hydraulic conductivities
and borewells in the study area. For the
(Subba Rao, 1992).
shallow aquifers of study area, pH ranged
Objectives and Scope from 7.1 to 8.2 whereas pH values for deep
In view of the increased interest in recent aquifers were ranging between 6.9 and 8.1.
years in fluoride (F) concentrations in The amount of fluoride ion in all shallow
groundwater and impact to human health, the aquifers ranged between 0.5 ppm and 1.4 ppm
present study is focused on factors whereas in deep aquifers ranged between 0.3
determining F levels in the groundwater of ppm and 0.9 ppm. The observed ranged of
shallow and deep aquifers in and around fluoride concentration in shallow aquifers are
Dhampur, Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh and comparatively high as compared to deep
the identification of appropriate aquifer zones aquifers. Fluoride concentration at all shallow
for fluoride-safe drinking water. and deep aquifers are almost similar for all
the study area. Critical analysis of data of
Material and Methods fluoride concentration clearly indicates that
Thirty samples, 15 each from shallow the deep aquifers are deficient of fluoride at
dugwells and deeper borewells in close all the study area.
proximity, were collected for comparative Elemental fluorine plays a vital role in higher
study and monitoring in May 2008. The life forms, especially in the skeletal systems.
dugwells range in depth from 2 to 14m and Both deficiency and excess of F might be
the borewells range from 20 to 60m with harmful. Effects associated with the impact of
averages of 9 and 34m respectively. Samples the ion on human health greatly depend on
were drawn with a precleaned plastic total intake through various media such as
polyethylene bottle. Prior to sampling, all the water, air and food. For instance, the common
sampling containers were washed and rinsed
Variation of fluoride and correlation with alkalinity in groundwater of shallow and deep aquifers
Volume I Number 2 2010 [61-67]
[ISSN 0975 - 6272] Kumar, Navneet

food stuffs have fluorine contents as follows: suitable than the latter for drinking purposes.
milk 0.07 to 0.22 ppm, wheat 0.05 ppm, rice
By analyzing the data it has been found that
0.7 ppm, eggs 1.2 ppm; tea 3.2 to 178.8 ppm,
nearly all the fluoride concentration had pH
garlic and onion contain 10 to 17 ppm
level more than seven that means all the pH in
(Kariyanna, 1987). Under these
the alkaline side (Table:1) for both the
circumstances, it is advisable to consume
aquifers. Correlation analysis had been
waters having a low concentration of F to
carried out to find out correlation coefficient
prevent fluorosis problems. The desirable
value (Table: 1). By analyzing the data it was
limit of F in water for drinking purpose is 0.6
found that correlation value is 0.119723 in
to 1.2 ppm, while the optimal range for it in
shallow aquifers and correlation value has
the present study area as per temperature
been found in deep aquifers -0.066672. The
conditions (Public Health Service, 1962) is
graph has been plotted showing the basicity is
0.7 to 0.8 ppm. Therefore, the ideal
the major factor for fluoride increase in the
concentration of F may be considered to be
ground water show in Figure 2 and 3. Mean
0.6 to 0.7 ppm. Since nearly 73% of the deep
maximum average value has been calculated
aquifer water has an F concentration between
in the table for fluoride and pH value (Table:
0.6 and 0.7 ppm compared to the shallow
aquifer water, the former would be more

Table  1.  The  concentration  of 

fluoride  in  ppm  and  pH  of 
groundwater  from  shallow  and 
deep aquifers in the study area 

Figure 2.Graphical presentation of pH 
in shallow and deep aquifers 

Variation of fluoride and correlation with alkalinity in groundwater of shallow and deep aquifers
Volume I Number 2 2010 [61-67]
[ISSN 0975 - 6272] Kumar, Navneet

Figure  3.Graphical  presentation  of  Fluoride 

concentration in shallow and deep aquifers 

Table 2. Mean Maximum and Average value for 
pH and Fluoride 

Conclusion: borewells in outcrop areas (no weathered

zone) to areas with weathered zones to
It can be concluded that fluoride-bearing
understand the behavior of fluoride
water are usually high in the alkalinity and
concentrations. Such studies will help solve
low in hardness and chloride, sulphate
the fluoride problem in groundwater by using
(Thergoankar and Kulkarni 1971). In
hydrogeological and geochemical information
mineralogical study of this area, we found
for well placement rather than spending huge
that fluoroapatide and biotite micas contain
sums of money on alternate supply schemes.
fluoride ion. It may be because that apatite
may perhaps exchange some of its hydroxyl
ion for fluoride. Presence of high bicarbonates
contributing to the alkalinity can also play an References
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are also advisable where even the shallow
Council on Food and Nutrition,
fracture zones which are in close proximity
with the weathered zones are sealed to avoid
the effects of vertical leakage. It is also APHA.Standard Method for the
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Variation of fluoride and correlation with alkalinity in groundwater of shallow and deep aquifers
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[ISSN 0975 - 6272] Kumar, Navneet

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Variation of fluoride and correlation with alkalinity in groundwater of shallow and deep aquifers