Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 2559–2575 | Cite as

Chemical and microbiological risk assessment of urban river water quality in Vietnam

  • Kien Thanh Nguyen
  • Hung Manh Nguyen
  • Cuong Kim Truong
  • Mohammad Boshir Ahmed
  • Yuhan Huang
  • John L. ZhouEmail author
Original Paper


The contamination and risk by nutrients (NH4+, NO2, NO3 and PO43−), COD, BOD5, coliform and potentially toxic elements (PTEs) of As, Cd, Ni, Hg, Cu, Pb, Zn and Cr were investigated in urban river (Nhue River), Vietnam during 2010–2017. The extensive results demonstrated that concentrations of these contaminants showed significant spatial and temporal variations. The Nhue River was seriously polluted by NH4+ (0.025–11.28 mg/L), PO43− (0.17–1.72 mg/L), BOD5 (5.8–179.6 mg/L), COD (1.4–239.8 mg/L) and coliform (1540–326,470 CFU/100 mL); moderately polluted by As (0.2–131.15 μg/L) and Hg (0.11–4.1 μg/L); and slightly polluted by NO2 (0.003–0.33 mg/L) and Cd (2.1–18.2 μg/L). The concentrations of NH4+, PO43−, COD, BOD5 and coliform frequently exceeded both drinking water guidelines and irrigation water standards. Regarding PTEs, As, Cd and Hg concentrations were frequently higher than the regulatory limits. Human health risks of PTEs were evaluated by estimating hazard index (HI) and cancer risk through ingestion and dermal contacts for adults and children. The findings indicated that As was the most important pollutant causing both non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic concerns. The non-carcinogenic risks of As were higher than 1.0 at all sites for both adults (HI = 1.83–7.4) and children (HI = 2.6–10.5), while As posed significant carcinogenic risks for adults (1 × 10−4−4.96 × 10−4). A management strategy for controlling wastewater discharge and protecting human health is urgently needed.

Graphical abstract


River pollution Nutrients Potentially toxic elements Human health risk Hazard index Cancer risk 



We thank the Division for Water Quality and Environment Management Laboratory and Consultancy, Institute of Water Resources Planning, Vietnam for the data. The data were from the baseline survey Projects “Monitoring and forecasting of water quality in irrigation system of the Nhue River in service of agricultural water production”, sponsored by the Directorate of Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam.

Supplementary material

10653_2019_302_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (75 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 76 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kien Thanh Nguyen
    • 1
  • Hung Manh Nguyen
    • 2
  • Cuong Kim Truong
    • 3
  • Mohammad Boshir Ahmed
    • 1
  • Yuhan Huang
    • 1
  • John L. Zhou
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Green Technology, School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Technology SydneyBroadwayAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Hydraulic Works Management, Directorate of Water ResourcesMinistry of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentHanoiVietnam
  3. 3.Laboratory DivisionInstitute of Irrigation PlanningHanoiVietnam

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