Geospatial distribution of metal(loid)s and human health risk assessment due to intake of contaminated groundwater around an industrial hub of northern India

  • Rachit Kashyap
  • K. S. Verma
  • Sanjay Kr. Uniyal
  • S. K. Bhardwaj


The study focused on analyzing concentrations of metal(loid)s, their geospatial distribution in groundwater around an industrial hub of northern India. Human health risk posed due to the intake of contaminated groundwater was also evaluated. For this, 240 samples were assayed using inductively coupled plasma emission spectrophotometer. For risk assessment, the methodology proposed by US Environmental Protection Agency was adopted. Geometric mean of Al, As, Mo, Cd, Co, Cr, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Se, and Zn was 193.13, 27.35, 4.22, 2.85, 92.81, 14.97, 271.78, 25.76, 54.75, 19.50, 16.94, and 1830.27 μg/l, respectively. Levels of Al (84%), As (63%), Ni (63%), Pb (49%), and Se (41%) exceeded the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Principal component analysis is accounted for ~ 88% of the total variance and reflected pollution loads of Al, As, Mo, Cr, Fe, Se, and Pb in the groundwater. Based on it, four sources of metal(loid)s, namely geogenic (34.55%), mixed (industrial and agricultural, 26.76%), waste dumping (15.31%), and industrial (11.25%) were identified. Semi-variogram mapping model demonstrated significant geospatial variations of the metal(loid)s. Hazard index (HI) suggested potential non-carcinogenic risks to the inhabitants due to As, Al, Ni, Se, and Pb, which were the largest contributors. Based on maximum concentrations of metal(loid)s, HI for child and adult was above unity. Arsenic was identified as the most hazardous pollutant that may have chronic carcinogenic health implications. At western side of study area, carcinogenic health risks exceeded critical threshold of 1 × 10−4, indicating that As posed health risks to residents by intake of groundwater.


Industrial hub Metal(loid)s Health risk Groundwater Northern India 



The first author is thankful to the Director of research and faculty members of the Department of Environmental Science, Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan, for support and facilities. Authors are thankful to the Director CSIR-IHBT and members of High Altitude Biology Division of CSIR-IHBT for support and suggestions. Special thanks are due to Dr. M K Brahmi and Dr. J K Sharma of UHF, Nauni, for assistance in sample collection and metal(loid)s analysis. The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and editor for their constructive comments that helped in improving the manuscript. Part of the support for the work was provided by MoEF&CC via National Mission on Himalayan Studies Project GAP 0199.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10661_2018_6525_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachit Kashyap
    • 1
  • K. S. Verma
    • 2
  • Sanjay Kr. Uniyal
    • 1
  • S. K. Bhardwaj
    • 2
  1. 1.High Altitude Biology DivisionCSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource TechnologyPalampurIndia
  2. 2.Department of Environmental ScienceDr Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture, and ForestrySolanIndia

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