Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 2, pp 1129–1135 | Cite as

Analysis of elemental concentration using ICP-AES and pathogen indicator in drinking water of Qasim Abad, District Rawalpindi, Pakistan

  • Shama Sehar
  • Iffat Naz
  • Naeem Ali
  • Safia Ahmed


The present study was conducted to investigate drinking water quality (groundwater) from water samples taken from Qasim Abad, a locality of approximately 5,000 population, situated between twin cities Rawalpindi and Islamabad in Pakistan. The main sources of drinking water in this area are water bores which are dug upto the depth of 250–280 ft in almost every house. The study consists of the determination of physico-chemical properties, trace metals, heavy metals, rare earth elements and microbiological quality of drinking water. The data showed the variation of the investigated parameters in samples as follows: pH 6.75 to 8.70, electrical conductivity 540 to 855 μS/cm, total dissolved solids 325.46 to 515.23 ppm and dissolved oxygen 1.50 to 5.64 mg/L which are within the WHO guidelines for drinking water quality. The water samples were analysed for 30 elements (aluminium, iron, magnesium, manganese, silicon, zinc, molybdenum, titanium, chromium, nickel, tungsten, silver, arsenic, boron, barium, beryllium, cadmium, cobalt, copper, gallium, mercury, lanthanum, niobium, neodymium, lead, selenium, samarium, tin, vanadium and zirconium) by using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy. The organic contamination was detected in terms of most probable number (MPN) of faecal coliforms. Overall, elemental levels were lower than the recommended values but three water bores (B-1, B-6, B-7) had higher values of iron (1.6, 2.206, 0.65 ppm), two water bores (B-1, B-6) had higher values of aluminium (0.95, 1.92 ppm), respectively, and molybdenum was higher by 0.01 ppm only in one water bore (B-11). The total number of coliforms present in water samples was found to be within the prescribed limit of the WHO except for 5 out of 11 bore water samples (B-2, B-3, B-4, B-8, B-11), which were found in the range 5–35 MPN/100 mL, a consequence of infiltration of contaminated water (sewage) through cross connection, leakage points and back siphoning.


ICP-AES MPN Drinking water Bore (a well dug with 7-in. metallic borer) Water quality Coliforms MPN 


  1. Abdulla, M., & Chmielnicka, J. (1990). New aspects on the distribution on the distribution and metabolism on essential trace elements after dietary exposure toxic metals. Biological Trace Element Research, 23, 25–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Afzali, D., Taher, M. A., Mostafavi, A., Mobarakeh, S. Z. M., et al. (2005). Thermal modified Kaolinite as useful material for separation and pre-concentration of trace amounts of manganese ions. Talanta, 30(2), 476–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. APHA. (1985). Standard methods for the examination of water and waste (16th ed.). Washington: American Public Health Association.Google Scholar
  4. Bhavna, A. S., Ajay, V. S., & Bharat, N. B. (2004). Vitrification and glass transition of water: Insights from spin probe ESR. Asian Journal of Chemistry, 16, 1801–1805.Google Scholar
  5. Chen, H. W., Xu, S. K., & Fang, Z. L. (1995). Electro-thermal atomic absorption spectrometric determination of molybdenum in water, human hair and high-purity reagent with flow injection on-line co-precipitation pre-concentration. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 10, 533–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. (2008). Heavy metals in drinking water. Accessed 1 Aug 2010.
  7. Demirel, Z., & Kulege, K. (2004). Heavy metal contamination in water and sediments of an estuary in southeastern Turkey. International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 21, 499–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dokmen, F., Kurtulus, C., & Endes, H. (2002). An investigation into heavy metal variations in surface water sources of some villages around Kocaeli-Golcuk, Turkey. International Journal of Water, 2, 162–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ghaedi, M., Fathi, M. R., Marahel, F., & Ahmadi, F. (2005). Simultaneous pre-concentration and determination of copper, nickel, cobalt and lead ions content by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 14, 1158–1163.Google Scholar
  10. Gregoriadou, A., Delidou, K., Dermosonoglou, D., Tsoumparis, P., Edipidi, C., & Katsougiannopoulos, B. (2001). Heavy metals in drinking water in Thessaloniki area, Greece. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Environmental Science and technology, Aristotle University, Ermoupolis.Google Scholar
  11. Hanaa, M., Eweida, A., & Farag, A. (2000). Heavy metals in drinking water and their environmental impact on human health. International Conference on Environmental Hazards Mitigation, Cairo University, Egypt, pp. 542–556.Google Scholar
  12. International Organization for Standardization. (2000). Water quality—Detection and enumeration of Escherichia coli and coliform bacteria. Part 1. Membrane filtration method (ISO 9308–1:2000). Geneva: International Organization for Standardization.Google Scholar
  13. Jayana, B. L., Prasai, T., Singh, A., & Yami, K. D. (2009). Assessment of drinking water quality of Madhyapur-Thimi and study of antibiotic sensitivity against bacterial isolates. Nepal Journal of Science and Technology, 10, 167–172.Google Scholar
  14. Kabay, N., Gizli, N., Demircioglu, M., Yuksel, M., Ayo, A., Yamabe, K., et al. (2003). Cr(III) removal by macro-reticular chelating ion exchange resins. Chemical Engineering Communications, 190, 813–822.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kashyap, A. K., Sahi, A. N., Shukla, S. P., & Gupta, R. K. (2000). Metal concentrations in water bodies of Schirmacher Oasis. Antarctica, 15, 211–219.Google Scholar
  16. Kovalskij, V. V., Jarovaja, G. A., & Smavonjan, D. M. (1961). Molybdenum in drinking-water .äurnalobšcejbiologij, 22, 179–191.Google Scholar
  17. Nassef, M., Hannigan, R., El Sayed, K. A., &Tahawy, M. S. El. (2006). Determination of some heavy metals in the environment of Sadat industrial city (pp. 145–152). Proceeding of the 2nd Environmental Physics Conference, Cairo University, Egypt.Google Scholar
  18. Pandey, J., Shubhashish, K., & Pandey, R. (2010). Heavy metal contamination of Ganga river at Varanasi in relation to atmospheric deposition. Tropical Ecology, 51(2), 365–373.Google Scholar
  19. Rajappa, B., Manjappa, S., & Puttaiah, E. T. (2010). Monitoring of heavy metal concentration in groundwater of Hakinaka Taluk, India. Contemporary Engineering Sciences, 3(4), 183–190.Google Scholar
  20. Sehar, S., Naz, I., Ali, M. I., & Ahmed, S. (2011). Monitoring of physicochemical and microbiological analysis of underground water samples of district Kallar Syedan, Rawalpindi-Pakistan. Research Journal of Chemical Sciences, 1(8), 24–30.Google Scholar
  21. Shishehbore, M. R., Nasirizadeh, N., & Shabani, A. M. H. (2005). Spectrophotometric determination of trace copper after pre-concentration with 1,5-diphenylcarbazone on micro-crystalline naphthalene. Canadian Journal of Analytical Sciences and Spectroscopy, 50(3), 130–134.Google Scholar
  22. Soylak, M., & Elcl, L. (2000). Solid phase extraction of trace metal ions in drinking water samples from Kayseri-Turkey. Journal of Trace and Microprobe Techniques, 18, 397–403.Google Scholar
  23. Soylak, M., Aydin, F. A., Saracoglu, S., Elci, L., & Dogan, M. (2002). Monitoring trace metal levels in Yozgat-Turkey: Copper, iron, nickel, cobalt, lead, cadmium, manganese and chromium levels in stream sediments. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 11, 47–51.Google Scholar
  24. Supriyanto, G. (2005). The chromate membrane method used for sample preparations in the spectrophotometric determination of zinc and copper in pharmaceuticals. Fachbereich Biologie, Chemie, und Pharmazie, 68(2), 318–322.Google Scholar
  25. Tuzen, M., & Soylak, M. (2006). Evaluation of metal levels of drinking waters from the Tokat-Black sea region of Turkey. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 6, 915–919.Google Scholar
  26. WHO. (1998). Guidelines for drinking water quality (2nd ed.). Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  27. WHO. (2004). Guidelines for drinking water quality (Vol. 1). Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  28. WHO. (2009). Calcium and magnesium in drinking water public health significance. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  29. Wyatt, C. J., Fimbers, C., Romo, L., Mendez, R. O., & Grijalva, M. (1998). Incidence of heavy metal contamination in water supplies in northern Mexico. Environmental Research, 76(2), 114–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shama Sehar
    • 1
  • Iffat Naz
    • 1
  • Naeem Ali
    • 1
  • Safia Ahmed
    • 1
  1. 1.Microbiology Research Laboratory, Department of MicrobiologyQuaid-i-Azam UniversityIslamabadPakistan

Personalised recommendations