Water Quality, Exposure and Health

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 459–467 | Cite as

A Study on Assessment of Credible Sources of Heavy Metal Pollution Vulnerability in Groundwater of Thoothukudi Districts, Tamilnadu, India

  • C. SingarajaEmail author
  • S. Chidambaram
  • K. Srinivasamoorthy
  • P. Anandhan
  • S. Selvam
Original Paper


The study investigates the Heavy Metal Pollution vulnerability of the groundwater in the coastal aquifers of Thoothukudi District, Tamilnadu, India. A total of 80 groundwater samples were collected throughout the entire district. Integrated approach includes pollution evaluation indices, principal component analysis (PCA), and correlation matrix (CM) to evaluate the intensity and source of pollution in groundwater. The average abundance order of heavy metal contents in groundwater samples are: Cr > Cu > Pb > Fe > Zn > Ni > Mn > Cd. These values were calculated for heavy metal pollution index (HPI), heavy metal evaluation index (HEI), and degree of contamination (C d). Spatial distribution map of HPI, HEI, C d indicates that higher indices are observed in the north eastern part of Industrial area (SIPCOT). The Factor score maps suggest that the activities of industries and landfill leachate are pervasive processes. Correlation matrix of heavy metal elements clearly indicates that the groundwater has assimilated with various contaminants from the processes of chemical industries, landfill leachate, and municipal sewage systems in the study area. This study has provided the evidence of effluents discharged from the tannery and auxiliary industries and landfill leachate are the main sources of heavy metal pollution in the groundwater. The current distribution level of heavy metal in the groundwater is of environmental and health concerns and requires attention.


Pollution evaluation indices Correlation matrix Heavy metal pollution index Heavy metal evaluation index Degree of contamination 



The authors acknowledge the valuable suggestions given by Prof. Al. Ramanathan, School of Environmental Sciences Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi - 110067, which greatly helped in the final presentation of the paper. The authors are grateful to anonymous referee for the constructive comments and suggestions which led to significant improvements to the manuscript. The authors would also like to thank the results generated by ICP-MS, Department of Earth Sciences, Pondicherry University, Pondicherry, India.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Singaraja
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Chidambaram
    • 2
  • K. Srinivasamoorthy
    • 3
  • P. Anandhan
    • 2
  • S. Selvam
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of GeologyPresidency CollegeChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesAnnamalai UniversityAnnamalai NagarIndia
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesPondicherry UniversityPondicherryIndia
  4. 4.Department of GeologyV.O.Chidambaram CollegeTuticorinIndia

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