Exposure and Health

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 443–456 | Cite as

Groundwater Quality Evaluation and Health Risk Assessment in the Yinchuan Region, Northwest China

  • Yahong ZhouEmail author
  • Aihua Wei
  • Junfeng Li
  • Liangdong Yan
  • Jing Li
Original Paper


Groundwater is an important resource for domestic and irrigation purposes in the Yinchuan Region, northwest China. However, the groundwater quality in this area is degrading because of human activities, and this adversely affects human health. In an effort to quantitatively describe the pollution status of groundwater and its influence on human health, comprehensive water quality index was used for drinking water quality assessment, and salinity–alkalinity method was applied to evaluate the irrigation water quality. Furthermore, the human health risk of the drinking groundwater has been evaluated with the model recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The results reveal that most of groundwater samples are suitable for irrigation except a few with high salinity and alkalinity. However, over 70 % of the phreatic water samples and nearly half of the confined water samples do not conform to the drinking water quality standard, and many parameters such as total dissolved solids, total hardness, and Na+ and SO4 2− exceed their limits. Noncarcinogenic risks of all collected water samples are relatively negligible. While carcinogenic risks in nearly 30 % of phreatic water samples and over 20 % of confined water samples surpass the acceptable level recommended by ICRP (5 × 10−5 per year), Cr6+ is the main influencing factor on the risk. In addition, the study shows that the severe groundwater pollution in the study area is conjunctively caused by industry and agricultural activities. Therefore, effective measures must be implemented to prevent further deterioration of water quality and reduce the health risks for local residents.


Groundwater resources Water quality assessment Drinking water Irrigation water Health risk assessment 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41502234 and 41572236), Natural Science Foundation of Science and Technology Department in Hebei Province (13274520 and D2016403044), Natural Science Foundation of Education Department in Heibei Province (D2015149), Youth Natural Science Foundation of Shijiazhuang University of Economics (QN201508), Teaching Reform Research Project of Shijiazhuang University of Economics (2014J04), Open foundation of Key Laboratory of groundwater resources of Ministry of land and resources of the People’s Republic of China (KF201509), and Natural Science Foundation of Ministry of Water Resources in Hebei Province (201501). The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers and the editors who helped us in improving the quality of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yahong Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Aihua Wei
    • 2
  • Junfeng Li
    • 3
  • Liangdong Yan
    • 2
  • Jing Li
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringChang’an UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Department of Water Resource and EnvironmentHebei Geo UniversityShijiazhuangChina
  3. 3.Hebei Prospecting Institute of Hydrogeology and Engineering GeologyShijiazhuangChina

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