Water quality assessment of hand dug wells at Kokoteasua and Abompekrom in the Obuasi Municipality in Ghana

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Ghana is one of the most densely populated countries in West Africa with about 80% of all diseases in Ghana caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Thus, a five month study was conducted at a gold mining area in Ghana at Abompekrom and Kokoteasua in the Obuasi Municipality to ascertain the water quality of hand dug wells popularly used by the locals. The study showed elevated levels of pH and dissolved oxygen from the samples analyzed. The concentrations of cations such as magnesium, calcium and zinc were within the WHO limits. However, the concentrations of iron and manganese of the groundwater at Abompekrom had values above WHO limits. The study further revealed that, the concentrations of cadmium and lead exceeded the WHO standards while concentration of anions such as nitrite, nitrate, sulphate and phosphate were within the safe WHO limits. Consequently, it is concluded that the quality of groundwater supplied by the wells was contaminated with both faecal and total coliforms, which were also above the WHO standards, but E. coli was not present. Therefore, most of the groundwater samples from the study areas are not potable and good for human consumption on the basis of the higher concentrations of heavy metals like cadmium, iron and lead and significant counts of coliform bacteria that exceed WHO standards. Consequently, it is recommended that liquid and solid waste disposal facilities should be located at the outskirts of the town at lower points for wells by the local authorities. Communities in the municipality should observe good sanitation and waste disposal. Engineers and Technologist should consider drilling deeper boreholes through the aquifer zones which might be free from contaminations unlike the shallower wells.
A thesis submitted to the Institute of Distance Learning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science in Environmental Science Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, 2013