Environmental assessment of toxic metals from Canal on Mehran University water treatment plant, Jamshoro, Pakistan

  • A. Ullah
  • S. S. HassanEmail author
  • A. K. Ansari
  • N. B. Jalbani
  • R. B. Mahar
  • Z. Ahmed
  • R. Z. Brohi
  • M. Y. Talpur
Original Paper


The main aim of this study was to evaluate the heavy metals in Mehran University water treatment plant, Jamshoro District, Sindh, Pakistan. The water samples were collected throughout the year (June 2016 to May 2017) from different locations such as raw water source (Kalri Baghar feeder), Mehran University water treatment plant and water distribution network from water treatment plant to the departments of Mehran University. The water samples from different locations were coded as S1 (Kalri Baghar Feeder/intake raw water source), from Mehran University water treatment plant (S2–S4), i.e., S2 (sedimentation tank outlet), S3 (post-filtration), S4 (Mehran University storage tank) and at last from Mehran University department, i.e., S5 (institute of water resources management), respectively. The atomic absorption spectrometry technique was used to evaluate the levels of heavy metals in water samples from different locations. The ranges of mean concentrations were analyzed from different locations (S1, S2, S3, S4 and S5) in Mehran water treatment plant such as for zinc from 60.368 to 137.6 µg/L, for copper from 1.82 to 4.08 µg/L, for chromium from 1.709 to 3.448 µg/L, for arsenic from 3.08 to 4.29 µg/L, for mercury and cadmium were observed under below detection limit. The detection limit of these metals was observed at 1, 0.5, 0.2, 2, 2 and 0.05 µg/L for zinc, copper, chromium, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, respectively. The recovery of the spike analyte was observed from 95 to 103% in different locations. The observed concentrations of selected heavy metals are under World Health Organization and National Environmental Quality Standards guideline limits.


Heavy metals Atomic absorption spectrometry Kalri Baghar Canal Mehran University water treatment plant Jamshoro District 



The authors would like to thank US–Pakistan centers for advanced studies in water (USPCAS-W), Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) Jamshoro, Sindh, Pakistan, for the financial supports and the provision of an excellent environment for research. The work reported under “Mehran clean water” project was funded by USPCAS-W, MUET, Jamshoro, Sindh, Pakistan and University of UTAH, UTAH, USA. I would like to express my profound sense of reverence to Prof. Dr. Steven. Burian, Prof. Dr. Tariq Banuri (Chairman, HEC Pakistan) and Prof. Dr. Muhammad Aslam Chaudhry for their motivation and untiring help during the training of visiting student exchange program in University of UTAH, USA.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have declared that there is no conflict of interests. S.S.H., R.B.M., Z.A. are employees of USPCAS-W, MUET, Jamshoro, Sindh, Pakistan. Azizullah is a graduate student of USPCAS-W, MUET. A.K.A is contracted employee of QUEST, Nawabshah, Sindh, Pakistan. N.B.J. is a senior scientific officer in PCSIR laboratory, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. R.Z. is laboratory in charge of AAS in Environmental Engineering Department, MUET, Jamshoro, Sindh. M.Y.T. is employee of Dr. M. A. Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Sindh.


  1. Ahmed MK, Baki MA, Islam MS, Kundu GK, Sarkar SK, Hossain MM (2015a) Human health risk assessment of heavy metals in tropical fish and shell fish collected from the river Buriganga, Bangladesh. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22(20):15880–15890. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmed MK, Shaheen N, Islam MS, Al-Mamun MH, Islam S, Banu CP (2015b) Trace elements in two staple cereals (rice and wheat) and associated health risk implications in Bangladesh. Environ Monit Assess 187:326–336. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Akcay H, Oguz A, Karapire C (2003) Study of heavy metal pollution and speciation in Buyak Menderes and Gediz river sediments. Water Res 37(4):813–822. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alansi AM, Al-Qunaibit M, Alade IO, Qahtan TF, Saleh TA (2018) Visible-light responsive BiOBr nanoparticles loaded on reduced graphene oxide for photocatalytic degradation of dye. J Mol Liq 253:297–304. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. APHA, Awwa, WEF (1998) Standards methods for examination of water and wastewater, 20th edn. American Public Health Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  6. Babel S, Kurniawan TA (2004) Cr(VI) removal from synthetic wastewater using coconut shell charcoal and commercial activated carbon modified with oxidizing agents and/or chitosan. Chemosphere 54(7):951–967. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barrera PB, Pineiro AM, Pineiro JM, Barrera AB (1997) Slurry sampling electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometric determination of lead, cadmium and manganese in human hair samples using rapid atomizer programs. J Anal Atom Spectrom 12:301–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Betancourt WQ, Rose JB (2004) Drinking water treatment processes for removal of Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Vet Parasitol 126(1–2):219–234. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dani SU, Walter GF (2018) Chronic arsenic intoxication diagnostic score (CAsIDS). J Appl Toxicol 38(1):122–144. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Danmaliki GI, Saleh TA (2016) Influence of conversion parameters of waste tires to activated carbon on adsorption of dibenzothiophene from model fuels. J Clean Prod 117:50–55. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Danmaliki GI, Saleh TA (2017) Effects of bimetallic Ce/Fe nanoparticles on the desulfurization of thiophenes using activated carbon. Chem Eng J 307(1):914–927. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dewani VK, Ansari IA, Khuhawar MY (2002) Determination and transport of metal ions in river indus at Kotri barrage. J Chem Soc Pak 24:190–194Google Scholar
  13. Fabiyi FAS, Sileo MA, Aremu OA (2008) Hydride generation atomic absorption spectrophotometry method for the determination of arsenic at ultramicro levels. Synth React Inorg Metal-Organ Nano-Metal Chem 38(9):727–730. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fernández ZH, Rojas LAV, Álvarez AM, Álvarez JRE, Júnior JADS, González IP, González MR, Macias NA, Sánchez DL, Torres DH (2015) Application of cold vapor-atomic absorption (CVAAS) spectrophotometry and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry methods for cadmium, mercury and lead analyses of fish samples. Validation of the method of CVAAS. Food Control 48:37–42. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Friberg L, Vahter M (1983) Assessment of exposure to lead and cadmium through biological monitoring: results of a UNEP WHO global study. Environ Res 30:95–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haseena M, Malik MF, Javed A, Arshad S, Asif N, Zulfiqar S, Hanif J (2017) Water pollution and human health. Environ Risk Assess Remed 1(3):16–19Google Scholar
  17. Hassan SS, Sirajuddin Solangi AR, Kazi TG, Kalhoro MS, Junejo Y, Tagar ZA, Kalwar NH (2012) Nafion stabilized ibuprofen–gold nanostructures modified screen printed electrode as arsenic (III) sensor. J Electroanal Chem 682:77–82. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hassan SS, Nafady A, Sirajuddin Solangi AR, Kalhoro MS, Abro MI, Sherazi STH (2015) Ultra-trace level electrochemical sensor for methylene blue dye based on nafion stabilized ibuprofen derived gold nanoparticles. Sens Actuators B Chem 208:320–326. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hassan SS, Panhwar P, Nafady A, Al-Enizi AM, Sherazi STH, Kalhoro MS, Arain M, Shah MR, Talpur MY (2017) Fabrication of highly sensitive and selective electrochemical sensors for detection of paracetamol by using piroxicam stabilized gold nanoparticles. J Electrochem Soc 164(9):B427–B434. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hassan SS, Carlson K, Mohanty SK, Canlier A (2018) Ultra-rapid catalytic degradation of 4-nitrophenol with ionic liquid recoverable and reusable ibuprofen derived silver nanoparticles. Environ Pollut 237:731–739. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Iqbal J, Shah MH (2014) Occurrence, risk assessment, and source apportionment of heavy metals in surface sediments from Khanpur Lake Pakistan. J Anal Sci Technol 5(28):1–12. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Islam MS, Han S, Ahmed MK et al (2014) Assessment of trace metal contamination in water and sediment of some rivers in Bangladesh. J Water Environ Technol 12(2):109–121. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Islam MS, Ahmed MK, Habibullah-Al-Mamun M, Hoque MF (2015) Preliminary assessment of heavy metal contamination in surface sediments from a river in Bangladesh. Environ Earth Sci 73:1837–1848. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kabir E, Ray S, Kim KH, Yoon HO, Jeon EC, Kim YS, Brown RJ (2012) Current status of trace metal pollution in soils affected by industrial activities. Sci World J 18(2012):916705. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Karagas MR, Gossai A, Pierce B, Ahsan H (2015) Drinking water arsenic contamination, skin lesions, and malignancies: a systematic review of the global evidence. Curr Environ Health Rep 2(1):52–68. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kaushik A, Kansal A, Meena S et al (2009) Heavy metal contamination of river Yamuna, Haryana, India: assessment by metal enrichment factor of the sediments. J Hazard Mat 164(1):265–270. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kazi TG, Arain MB, Jamali MK, Jalbani N, Afridi HI, Sarfraz RA, Baig JA, Shah AQ (2009) Assessment of water quality of polluted lake using multivariate statistical techniques: a case study. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 72(2):301–309. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Naeemullah, Kazi TG, Afridi HI, Shah F, Arain SS, Brahman KD, Ali J, Arain MS (2016) Simultaneous determination of silver and other heavy metals in aquatic environment receiving wastewater from industrial area, applying an enrichment method. Arab J Chem 9:105–113. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Khan A, Yousafzai AM, Latif M et al (2014) Analysis of selected water quality parameters and heavy metals of Indus River at Beka Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Int J Biosci 4(2):28–38. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Khan S, Shah IA, Muhammad S, Malik RN, Shah MT (2015) Arsenic and heavy metal concentrations in drinking water in Pakistan and risk assessment: a case study. Hum Ecol Risk Assess Int J 21(4):1020–1031. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lisle J (2000) Drinking water treatment and regulations in the United States. Lab Med 31:492–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Muhammad S, Shah MT, Khan S (2011) Health risk assessment of heavy metals and their source apportionment in drinking water of Kohistan region, Northern Pakistan. Microchem J 98(2):334–343. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nabeela F, Azizullah A, Bibi R, Uzma S, Murad W, Shakir SK, Ullah W, Qasim M, Häder DP (2014) Microbial contamination of drinking water in Pakistan—a review. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 21(24):13929–13942. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Najim SS, Adnan MA (2016) Dental erosion by beverages and determination of trace elements in teeth by atomic absorption spectrometry. Am J Anal Chem 7(7):548–555. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nawab J, Khan S, Ali S, Sher H, Rahman Z, Khan K, Tang J, Ahmad A (2016) Health risk assessment of heavy metals and bacterial contamination in drinking water sources: a case study of Malakand Agency Pakistan. Environ Monit Assess 188(5):286. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Noorhosseini SA, Allahyari MS, Damalas CA, Moghaddam SS (2017) Public environmental awareness of water pollution from urban growth: the case of Zarjub and Goharrud rivers in Rasht Iran. Sci Total Environ 1(599–600):2019–2025. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rao DL (2014) Heavy metals causing toxicity in humans, animals and environment. J Chem Pharm Sci 0974–2115:172–174Google Scholar
  38. Saleem HM, Eweida EA, Farag A (2000) Heavy metals in drinking water and their environmental impact on human health. In: International conference environmental hazards mitigation, Cairo University, Egypt, pp 542–556Google Scholar
  39. Saleh TA (2015) Mercury sorption by silica/carbon nanotubes and silica/activated carbon: a comparison study. J Water Supp Res Technol-Aqua 64(8):892–903. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Saleh TA (2016) Nanocomposite of carbon nanotubes/silica nanoparticles and their use for adsorption of Pb(II): from surface properties to sorption mechanism. Desalin Water Treat 57(23):10730–10744. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Saleh TA (2017) Advanced nanomaterials for water engineering, treatment, and hydraulics. IGI Global, Hershey. ISBN 9781522521365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Soomro ZA, Khokhar MIA, Hussain W, Hussain M (2011) Drinking water quality challenges in Pakistan. World Water Day 17–28Google Scholar
  43. Tam YS, Elefsiniotis P (2009) Corrosion control in water supply systems: effect of pH, alkalinity, and orthophosphate on lead and copper leaching from brass plumbing. J Environ Sci Health Part A 44(12):1251–1260. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. UNEP (1984; 1992) The international register of potentially toxic chemicals of UNEP included cadmium together with lead and mercury in its listing of environmentally dangerous chemical substances and processes of global significanceGoogle Scholar
  45. Van der Bruggen B, Borghgraef K, Vinckier C (2010) Causes of water supply problems in urbanized regions in developing countries. Water Resour Manag 24(9):1885–1902. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. WHO (2005) Nutrients in drinking water. WHO Press, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  47. Zahra A, Hashmi MZ, Malik RN, Ahmed Z (2014) Enrichment and geo-accumulation of heavy metals and risk assessment of sediments of the Kurang Nallah—Feeding tributary of the Rawal Lake Reservoir, Pakistan. Sci Total Environ 470-471:925–933. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Ullah
    • 1
  • S. S. Hassan
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. K. Ansari
    • 2
  • N. B. Jalbani
    • 3
  • R. B. Mahar
    • 1
  • Z. Ahmed
    • 1
  • R. Z. Brohi
    • 4
  • M. Y. Talpur
    • 5
  1. 1.US.-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W)Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET)JamshoroPakistan
  2. 2.Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering, Science and TechnologyNawabshahPakistan
  3. 3.Centre for Environmental StudiesPakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Lab (PCSIR Lab)KarachiPakistan
  4. 4.Institute of Environmental Engineering and ManagementMehran University of Engineering and TechnologyJamshoroPakistan
  5. 5.Dr. M. A. Kazi Institute of ChemistryUniversity of SindhJamshoroPakistan

Personalised recommendations