Seasonal variations and mechanisms of groundwater nitrate pollution in the Gaza Strip


Nitrate represents one of the major pollutants of groundwater in the Gaza Strip. Several cases of blue babies disease were reported in the last couple of years. The present study is an investigation of the seasonal variations in nitrate concentration to better understand the mechanisms and parameters controlling this perilous pollutant. Nitrate was analysed in 100 wells (47 agricultural and 53 domestic) in five governorates. The results showed that 90% of the tested wells have nitrate far beyond the allowed values set by the World Health Organization (WHO). The average concentration of nitrate in domestic wells is 128 mg/L in June-July and 118 mg/L in Jan-Feb, and for the agricultural wells, the average is 100 mg/L in June-July, and 96 mg/L for Jan-Feb. The results suggest that the seasonal differences in nitrate concentrations of the domestic wells are slightly more observable than those of the agricultural wells. The environmental factors that control nitrate in groundwater are: a partially-confined aquifer, lack of a sewage system, population density, the presence of refugee camps, the presence of fertilizers and the annual rain. The variations in nitrate concentration of the domestic wells are not of considerable values. It is suggested that concrete policies in pollution control and/or prevention measures could be formulated upon better understanding of the environmental factors.

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Correspondence to M. R. Al-Agha.

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Maila, Y.A., El-Nahal, I. & Al-Agha, M.R. Seasonal variations and mechanisms of groundwater nitrate pollution in the Gaza Strip. Env Geol 47, 84–90 (2004).

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  • Groundwater
  • Nitrate
  • Pollution
  • Gaza Strip
  • Palestine