Effects of agrochemical use in agricultural activities on the drinking water quality of ground and surface water: a case study of Agogo in the Asanti-Akim North District

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The effects of agrochemical use in agricultural activities on the quality of ground and surface water within Agogo, a prominent tomato growing area in the Ashanti Region was assessed by monitoring levels of pH, conductivity, turbidity, total hardness, total dissolved solids, nitrates and chlorides, some heavy metals and microbial indicator organisms using standard methods. Ground and surface water samples were collected from three zones within the Agogo area between January and June of 2005 to coincide with the dry, mid and rainy seasons in Ghana. The levels of all parameters measured were generally higher in surface water than in ground water. The levels of iron, lead, zinc, and cadmium were 1.40, 0.12, 0.08, and 0.18 (mg/L) in surface water and 0.08, 0.10, 0.05, and 0.08 (mg/L) in ground water respectively. Iron, lead and cadmium levels in surface waters and that of lead in ground water did not meet the WHO standards for drinking water. Differences in nitrates, chlorides and pH levels in the three zones were statistically significant (p S 0.05). Bacterial indicator numbers (geometric means 100ml2) in surface waters varied from 9.35 x 1 to 1.57 x 10” for total coliforms, 4.15 x 104 to 2.10 x 107 for faecal coliforms and 2.80 x 10 to 3.25 x 102 for enterococci but none was found in ground water. High physicochemical, heavy metals and microbial indicator levels in the water sources could be attributed to the intense and indiscriminate use of agrochemicals by the vegetable farmers. The adoption of appropriate techniques in agrochemicals application will help prevent further contamination of the water sources and improve the general health of the people in Agogo.
dissertation presented to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, College of Science Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science degree in Environmental Science, 2005