IMPACT OF WASTE DISPOSAL PRACTICE ON SURFACE AND GROUND WATER A CASE STUDY OF ABA, ABIA STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In most of the developing countries, solid wastes are being dumped on land without adopting any acceptable sanitary land filling practices.
Precipitation that infiltrates the solid wastes disposed on land mixes with the liquids already trapped in the crevices of the waste and leach
compounds from the solid waste. The leachate thus formed contains dissolved inorganic and organic solutes. In course of time, the leachate
formed diffuses into the soil and changes the physicochemical characteristics of water. Leachate from a solid waste disposal site is generally
found to contain major elements like calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrogen and ammonia, trace metals like iron, copper, manganese,
chromium nickel, lead and organic compounds like phenols, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, acetone, benzene, toluene, chloroform etc. The
concentration of these in the leachate and water depends on the composition of wastes. Some of the pollutants may be adsorbed on to the
soil media during the flow of leachate through the soil. Areas near landfills have a greater possibility of groundwater contamination because
of the potential pollution source of leachate originating from the nearby dumping site. Such contamination of groundwater results in a
substantial risk to local groundwater resource user and to the natural environment. Land disposal of wastes is an important element of
solid waste management. Equally important is the ability to conduct landfill operations without adversely impacting ground water, surface
water, or the environment. The disposition of this huge volume of waste material increases the potential for adversely affecting human
health and/or the environment. One major factor in environmental protection at a landfill site is leachate control Leachate from solid waste
disposal sites can be a significant source of ground-water and surface water contamination if not properly managed. The resulting impacts
occur when water passing through refuse accumulates various contaminants and migrates into underlying ground waters, seriously
degrading the water quality of the aquifer.’ These adverse impacts can have a serious economic problem when ground-water resources are
lost indefinitely. Subsequently, hydrologically interconnected surface water bodies may also be affected. In the 1977 Report to Congress on
waste disposal practices and their effects on ground water, data current at that time indicated that waste disposal facilities (including
domestic septic systems) were releasing over 1700 billion gallons of contaminated liquid into the ground each year. This resulted in
water contamination on both a local and regional basis in all parts of the nation. The degree of contamination ranged from a slight
degradation of the natural quality to the presence of toxic concentrations of heavy metals and organic compounds. With the increasing
demands on land and water resources, the protection of these resources from leachate impacts posed has become a vital Agency program
objective. Geo-chemical processes that control the quality of surface and groundwater are currently a topic of increasing concern
everywhere because water is a blue gold of vital economic and social importance. Its quality has an effect on the health of human beings as
well as the growth of crops. Minerals of bedrock are subjected to weathering and leaching, and so contribute dissolved constituents to both
surface and groundwater. Also anthropogenic activities affect water chemistry. An understanding of these processes is thus essential for the
sustainable development of the water resources of an area. Many interrelated processes control the chemical composition of water and the
understanding of these processes is needed before one can act intelligently towards groundwater quality control and improvement (Hem,
2009). Principal component analyses are thus used for identifying the geogenic and anthropogenic processes which result in the variations
in the chemical composition of both surface and groundwater that may have adverse effects on human beings. This will aid in
implementing the appropriate remedial management measures in time for the development of water resources of an area. The impact of
landfill leachate on the surface and groundwater has given rise to a number of studies in recent years and gained major importance due to
drastic increase in population. There are many approaches that can be used to assess the groundwater and surface water contamination. It
can be assessed either by the experimental determination of the impurities or their estimation through mathematical modelling.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
A high amount of solid waste generated within the Aba Metropolis is not collected. As a result, a lot of solid wastes are le within the
communities. Most of the houses in the communities lack appropriate sanitary infrastructure for liquid waste disposal and therefore major
portion of grey water and black water generated are disposed o into the Stream. Several cottage industries within the catchment also
discharge their effluent directly into the Stream. In order to prevent the Stream from pollution, it is imperative that, the uncollected solid
waste and the practice of discharge of untreated liquid waste into the Stream should be addressed and prevented. Unsuitable disposal of
waste causes all types of pollution: air, soil, and water. Indiscriminate dumping of wastes contaminates surface and ground water supplies.
In urban areas, waste clogs drains, creating stagnant water for insect breeding and floods during rainy seasons. Open burning of waste
contributes significantly to urban air pollution. Open dumping is quite common in developing countries due to low budget available for
waste disposal. It also poses serious threat to surface and groundwater.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine impact of waste disposal practice on surface and ground water. Other general objectives of
the study are:
- To evaluate the level of contamination in the surface and groundwater resources of Aba.
- To evaluate the heavy metal concentrations and distributions in the water and explaining such in relation to hydro-geochemical
processes and other factors, and to compare their concentrations with WHO standards.
- To examine the impact of waste disposal practice on surface and ground water.
- To examine the levels of pollutants in groundwater wells as compared to guidelines provided by Abia state of standards for drinking
- To examine the relationship between waste disposal practices and pollution of surface and ground water.
- To examine the challenges faced by the Solid Waste Management sector in urban areas of less-developed regions.
- To examine the physio-chemical characteristics of surface and groundwater sources.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is the level of contamination in the surface and groundwater resources of Aba?
How are the heavy metal concentrations and distributions in the water and explaining such in relation to hydro-geochemical
processes and other factors, and to compare their concentrations with WHO standards?
What are the impacts of waste disposal practice on surface and ground water?
What is the level of pollutants in groundwater wells as compared to guidelines provided by Abia state of standards for drinking water?
What is the relationship between waste disposal practices and pollution of surface and ground water?
What are the challenges faced by the Solid Waste Management sector in urban areas of less-developed regions?
What are the physio-chemical characteristics of surface and groundwater sources?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H01: There is no significant impact of waste disposal practice on surface and ground water
- There is no significant relationship between waste disposal practices and pollution of surface and ground water.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The general public, government and waste management agencies stand to benefit from this study. Empirically, the outcome of this research
will enable the general public and government to grasp deeply the hazardous effect of reckless disposal of waste along every nook and
cranny of the nation, its effect on surface and ground water quality and factors that impede/hamper the implementation of waste
management in Abia State. Also, this study will equally strengthen government efforts towards the release of funds for waste evacuations
and informing people about the proper methods of waste disposal practices having vividly understood the import of poor waste
management via extensive work done on this write-up. Theoretically, this study will make a useful contribution in the field of management
as it will serve as another source of knowledge in the management of waste and material resources of the various establishments in Nigeria.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on impact of waste disposal practice on surface and ground water, a case study of Aba in Abia state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or
information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on
the time devoted for the research work.
IMPACT OF WASTE DISPOSAL PRACTICE ON SURFACE AND GROUND WATER A CASE STUDY OF ABA, ABIA STATE