Environmental Earth Sciences

, 75:1483 | Cite as

Occurrence and distribution of fluoride in the groundwater of the Tamiraparani River basin, South India: a geostatistical modeling approach

  • N. S. MageshEmail author
  • N. Chandrasekar
  • L. Elango
Original Article


Fluoride in drinking water has both beneficial and detrimental effects on public health, and a narrow range between .6 and 1.5 mg/L is optimal for consumption. However, natural groundwater sources exceed these guidelines affecting the entire population. This study aims to assess the distribution and controlling factors of fluoride concentration in the Tamiraparani River basin, South India. A total of 124 groundwater samples were analyzed for their fluoride content and other hydrogeochemical parameters. The fluoride concentration in the study area varied from .01 to 1.67 mg/L, and the highest concentrations were measured in the northern and central parts of the study area, which is underlain by charnockites and hornblende biotite gneiss. The sampling indicated (as per the Bureau of Indian Standards) that 53.9% of the area has fluoride concentrations below levels that are protective of teeth from dental caries (<.6 mg/L). .1% of the area is considered to be at risk of dental fluorosis, and the remaining 46% of the area is considered to have fluoride levels at desirable to permissible limit in groundwater. The groundwater in the study area belongs to Ca–Mg–Cl–SO4 and Ca–Mg–HCO3 types. A positive correlation between fluoride and TDS, Na+, K+ and HCO3 indicates its geogenic origin, and positive loading between pH and fluoride shows that alkaline environment enhances the dissolution of fluoride-bearing minerals into the groundwater. An empirical Bayesian kriging model was applied to interpolate the fluoride concentration in the study area. This geostatistical model is found to be better than other kriging methods, and it yielded an average standard error of .332 and root-mean-square standardized value of .986.


Groundwater Fluoride Empirical Bayesian kriging Saturation index Tamiraparani basin India 



The first author is thankful to the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, and D.S. Kothari Post Doctoral Cell, University of Pune, for providing financial assistance through UGC Dr. D.S. Kothari Post Doctoral Fellowship scheme (Ref No. F.4-2/2006 (BSR)/ES/14-15/0016).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyAnna UniversityChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Centre for GeotechnologyManonmaniam Sundaranar UniversityTirunelveliIndia

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