Geochemical evaluation of fluoride contamination in groundwater from Shanmuganadhi River basin, South India: implication on human health

  • P. Aravinthasamy
  • D. KarunanidhiEmail author
  • T. Subramani
  • K. Srinivasamoorthy
  • B. Anand
Original Research


In order to assess the geochemical mechanism liable for fluoride contamination in groundwater and its health effects on the people of the Shanmuganadhi River basin, Tamil Nadu, India, 61 groundwater samples were collected during post- and pre-monsoon seasons from the wells used for drinking purposes. Collected samples were analysed for various physico-chemical parameters. The parameters estimated in the present study are hydrogen ion concentration (pH), total dissolved solids, electrical conductivity, calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), bicarbonate (HCO3), chloride (Cl), sulphate (SO42−), nitrate (NO3), phosphate (PO43−) and fluoride (F). The fluoride ion concentration in the groundwater samples of this region varied from 0.01 to 2.50 mg/l and 0.01 to 3.30 mg/l during post- and pre-monsoon seasons, respectively. Out of 61 groundwater samples, 14 samples of post-monsoon season and 16 samples of pre-monsoon season represented high, very high and extremely high classes of fluoride, which cause dental fluorosis in this region. The fluoride-bearing minerals in the granitic and gneissic rocks such as apatite, hornblende, muscovite, biotite and amphiboles are the major sources for fluoride contamination in this area. In addition to the geogenic sources, applications of synthetic fertilizers in the agricultural fields also contribute significant amount of fluoride ions to groundwater. The spatial distribution of fluoride in different geological formations clearly indicate that the wells located in charnockite terrain were possessing very low fluoride concentration when compare with the wells located in the hornblende–biotite gneiss formation. Therefore, dental fluorosis risks are mostly associated with rock types in this region. People living over the basement rock comprising of hornblende–biotite gneiss are prone for fluorosis. Fluoride exhibited good positive correlation with bicarbonate in groundwater. As fluoridated endemic regions normally acquire lot of bicarbonate in groundwater samples, Shanmuganadhi basin falls under fluoride endemic category. The present study identified 26 villages in Shanmuganadhi basin as probable fluorosis risk areas where attention should be given to treat the fluoride-rich groundwater before drinking water supply. The groundwater level fluctuation study also designates that rise in water level reduces the concentration of fluoride due to dilution mechanism. Therefore, recharge of groundwater by artificial methods will definitely improve the present scenario.


Fluoride contamination Drinking water Human health Shanmuganadhi River basin South India 



The authors are greatly indebted to the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India (File No. ECR/2017/000132 dated 18.07.2017) for providing the grants and support to carry out this work effectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Aravinthasamy
    • 1
  • D. Karunanidhi
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. Subramani
    • 2
  • K. Srinivasamoorthy
    • 3
  • B. Anand
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringSri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology (Autonomous)CoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.Department of Geology, CEG CampusAnna UniversityChennaiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesPondicherry UniversityKalapet, PuducherryIndia

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