Groundwater quality within Kwesiprah, Cape Coast, Central Region, Ghana

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Kwesiprah is a suburb of Cape Coast faced with the perennial shortage of tap or treated water for drinking as a result of seasonal rainfall variations resulting in the drying of the Kakum River which serves as a source of raw water for the Brimso Water Treatment Plant. Consequently, the inhabitants of Kwesiprah rely on groundwater (well) which have septic tank sited closed to them for their domestic activities. This study sought to find the potability of the hand-dug wells by subjecting the collected water samples (49) from seven selected hand-dug wells in Kwesiprah to physico-chemical and bacteriological analysis using standard analytical procedure. The results showed that chloride and total iron for some selected sites were above the WHO limit. Also, total coliform and faecal coliform were positive for almost all of the sites sampled with an exception of MAH2. The principal nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus which are potential indicators of groundwater septic tank contamination by effluents were found to be below the WHO recommended guideline indicating that groundwater has not been contaminated by septic tank effluents. However, pH, Total dissolved solids, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Sulphate, Fluoride, Total hardness, Alkalinity and Zinc were all below the WHO limit. Salinity levels at sampling sites were also found to be insignificant and hence the possibility of sea water intrusion and may be negligible. These low and high values obtained for some of these parameters might have their health implications with the exception of Nitrite and Zinc. The distance of wells from septic tanks were also found to be below the limits set by the Ghana District Schedules (30 m) and USEPA (15.42 m) which poses a cause for concern. Hence the need to improve upon the quality of this water source was suggested if it is to be used as a drinking water source.
A thesis submitted 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.