Skip to main content

Nitrate pollution and its distribution in the groundwater of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh, India

Abstract

The complex depositional pattern of clay and sand in most of the areas controlled the vertical and lateral movement of nitrate in groundwater. The variation of nitrate concentration at different groundwater levels and the lateral distribution of nitrate in the groundwater at two sites indicated the filtration of nitrate by clayey formations. A rural agricultural district located in the Vamsadhara river basin, India was selected for studying the lateral and vertical distribution of nitrate in the groundwater and the association of nitrate with other chemical constituents. The nitrate concentrations in the groundwater are observed to vary between below detectable limit and 450 mg NO3/L. The sources for nitrate are mainly point sources (poultry farms, cattleshed and leakages from septic tanks) and non-point sources (nitrogenous fertilisers). The nitrate concentrations are increased after fertiliser applications. However, very high concentrations of nitrate are derived from animal wastes. Relatively better correlations between nitrate and potassium are observed (R = 0.74 to 0.82). The better relationship between these two chemical constituents in the groundwater may be due to the release of potassium and nitrate from both point and non-point sources. The nitrate and potassium concentrations are high in the groundwater from clayey formations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10

References

  • APHA (American Public Health Association) (1985) Standard methods for the examination of water and waste water, 16th edn. APHA, American Water Works Association and Water Pollution Control Federation, Washington DC

  • Boeing H (1991) Epidemiological research in stomach cancer: progress over the last ten years. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 117:113–143

    Google Scholar 

  • Bulusu KR, Pande SP (1990) Nitrates—a serious threat to groundwater pollution. Bhu-Jal News 5:39–43

    Google Scholar 

  • Cuello C, Correa P, Haenszel W (1976) Gastric cancer in Colombia. I. Cancer risk and suspect environmental agents. J Natl Cancer Inst 57:1015–1020

    Google Scholar 

  • Degens ET, Chillingar GV (1967) Diagenesis of subsurface waters. In: Larson G, Chillingar GV (eds) Diagenesis in sediments. Developments in sedimentalogy. Elsevier, Amsterdam

    Google Scholar 

  • Devvarma D (1986) Some aspects of texture, mineralogy and geochemistry of the Vamsadhara river sediments, East Coast of India. PhD, Andhra University, Andhra Pradesh, India

  • Gilli G, Corrao G, Favilli S (1984) Concentrations of nitrates in drinking water and incidence of gastric carcinomas: first descriptive study of the Piemonte Region, Italy. Sci Total Environ 3:35–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hamilton AP, Shedlock JR (1992) Are fertilisers and pesticides in the groundwater? A case study of the Delmarva Peninsula, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia. USGS Circular 1080:1–16

    Google Scholar 

  • Handa BK (1983) Effect of fertiliser on groundwater quality in India. In: Symposium on groundwater development—a perspective for the year 2000 AD. University of Roorkee, India

  • Klimas A, Paukstys B (1993) Nitrate contamination of groundwater in the Republic of Lithuania. NGU Bull 424:75–85

    Google Scholar 

  • Kolpin DW, Burkart MR, Thurman EM (1994) Herbicides and nitrate in near-surface aquifers in the mid continental United States, 1991. USGS Water Supply Pap 2413:1–34

    Google Scholar 

  • Kondratas AR, Mikalauskas VV (1973) An example of regional groundwater contamination. Nedra, Moscow, pp 280

  • Malik S, Banerji S (1981) Nitrate pollution of groundwater as a result of agriculture development in Indo-Ganga plain, India. In: Proceedings of international symposium on quality of groundwater, The Netherlands

  • McQuillan D (2004) Groundwater quality impacts from on-site septic systems. Paper presented at 13th annual conference on National on-site wastewater Recycling Association, Albuqueraque, N.M. held during November 7–10 http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/food/LiquidWaste/NOWRA.paper.pdf. Cited 10 June2005

  • Mehta BC, Singh RV, Srivatsava MM, Das S (1990) Impact of fertiliser use on groundwater quality in parts of Ganjam District, Orissa. Bhu-Jal News 5:44–48

    Google Scholar 

  • Rao NS (1996) Geohydrological and hydrochemical properties of the Lower Vamsadhara River Basin, Andhra Pradesh, India. PhD, Andhra University, India

  • Rao NS (1998) Impact of clayey soils on nitrate pollution in the groundwater of the lower Vamsadhara River basin, India. Hydrol Sci J 43:701–714

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rao NS (2002) Nitrate occurrence and its behaviour in the groundwater of Godavari Delta, India. The Indian Geogr J 77:31–38

    Google Scholar 

  • Sankaranarayana G, Sudarsan V, Narsimulu C (1989) Nitrate pollution in the groundwater of Sangareddy Area, AP, India. In: Proceedings of the international workshop on appropriate methodologies for development and management of groundwater resources in developing countries, vol 2, IBH-Oxford, New Delhi

  • Sehgal VK, Sahgal RK, Kakar YP (1989) Nitrate pollution of groundwater in Lucknow Area, U.P. In: Proceedings of the international workshop on appropriate methodologies for development and management of groundwater resources in developing countries, vol 2, IBH-Oxford, New Delhi

  • Tacon AGJ (1987) The nutrition and feeding of farmed fish and shrimp—a training manual-3. Nutrient sources—composition of feedstuffs and fertilizers. FAO, Brazil. http://www.fao.org/docrep/field/003/AB468E/AB468E05.html. cited 6 March 2006

  • Uma KO (1993) Nitrates in shallow (regolith) aquifers around Sokoto Town, Nigeria. Environ Geol 21:70–76

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • VanMaanen JMS, Irene JW, Geja H, Dallinga JW, Paul LJM, Mertens, Kleinjans JCS (1996) Nitrate contamination of drinking water: relationship with HPRT variant frequency in Lymphocyte DNA and urinary excretion of N-Nitrosamines

  • WHO (World Health Organization) (1984) Drinking water quality control in small community supplies. In: Guidelines for drinking water quality, vol 3

  • Xu G, Song P, Reed PI (1992) The relationship between gastric muscosal changes and nitrate intake via drinking water in a high-risk populations for gastric cancer in Moping county, China. Eur J Cancer Prev 1:437–443

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The work was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi under the Young Scientist Scheme (HR/SY/A-07/97). The financial support from DST for carrying out this study is gratefully acknowledged. The author is also grateful to Dr. B.K. Handa, Supdt. Chemist (Retired), Water Research Centre, Chandigarh for his valuable suggestions for initiating the present work.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nagireddi Srinivasa Rao.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rao, N.S. Nitrate pollution and its distribution in the groundwater of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh, India. Environ Geol 51, 631–645 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00254-006-0358-2

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00254-006-0358-2

Keywords

  • Nitrate
  • Potassium
  • Groundwater
  • Clay membrane
  • Point source
  • India