Potential contamination of groundwater in the World Heritage Site of the St. Katherine Protectorate, Egypt
- H. Abdulla, K. Ghodeif, S. El-Shatoury, A. Dewedar
- Egyptian Journal of Biology,
Water samples were collected from 19 wells (governmental and private) in Saint Katherine protectorate, from June until September 2008. Water samples has been subjected to various physical, chemical and microbiological analyses including water temperature, pH, total dissolved salts (TDS), electric conductivity (EC), NaCl %, nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, total phosphate, heavy metals (Zn, Pb, Cd, Mn and Cu) and Fluoride. Zoosporic and aquatic-derived fungi were isolated from water samples by using baiting technique on different seeds and dilution technique on Czapeks yeast extract agar medium respectively. Total viable and coliform bacteria were isolated by using Nutrient Agar and Endo-agar media respectively. Blood samples were collected from population of this area for determination of serum fluoride, lead, copper, calcium, zinc and phosphorus. Also renal function tests (creatinine, urea, BUN and uric acid) as well as, liver function tests (ALT, AST, ALP, and GGT) were determined in examined blood. An extensive field survey was carried out on 70 children to show the effect of water over fluorosis on their teeth in four settlements. Fluorides and heavy metals values (Pb, Cu, Mn) of the majority of studied wells water exceed the accepted limits for drinking water standards recommended by Egyptian Ministry of Health (EMH) Decree no. 458/2007. Nitrates and nitrites also exceeded the accepted limits recommended by the EMH and the World Health Organization (WHO) for drinking water standards. Fifteen species of aquatic-derived fungi were identified. The dominant taxa were Aspergillus niger, A. flavus, A. terrus, Mucor racemosus and Penicillium chrysogenum. Eight taxa of aquatic fungi were reported Thirteenth International Water Technology Conference, IWTC 13 2009, Hurghada, Egypt during this study the most dominant were Achlya prolifera, Saprolegnia diclina and Pythium intermedium. Counts of total coliform reached up to 154700 CFU/100ml in wells. Serum analyses revealed mild increase in serum fluoride and lead above normal range with mild decrease in serum calcium lower than normal range. While kidney and liver functions exhibited as normal. Among the 70 examined children, 100% of infection with different degrees of severity was observed based on the child age as well as the water source. To minimize the impact of groundwater pollution on human health in Saint Katherine, urgent studies should be carried out on its quality as soon as possible along with an extensive survey of radioactive isotopes which may be decay into stable lead isotopes. On the other hand the hazardous effects of high percentage of fluoride in the groundwater must be controlled or completely eliminated by using the modified model of water purification unit established by Community and Environmental Services Center on El-Zayitona well to provide Saint Katherine inhabitants especially kids with healthy clean glass of water. Finally activation of law 4/1994, for the protection of environment in Egypt, is urgently needed.