Seasonal influence and risk assessment of heavy metals contamination in groundwater, arjaat village, morocco

Fran ois Xavier Nshimiyimana1,2,3, Maria-Ema Faciu2,3, Souad El Blidi4, Abdellah El Abidi5, Abdelmajid Soulaymani1, Mohamed Fekhaoui4, Gabriel Lazar2,3

1 University Ibn Tofail, Faculty of Sciences, Genetics and Biometry Laboratory, BO. 133 Campus Universitaire, K nitra 14000, Morocco
2 Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacau, Faculty of Engineering, 157 Calea Marasesti, 600115 Bacau, Romania
3 Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacau, Faculty of Engineering, 157 Calea Marasesti, 600115 Bacau, Romania
4 Scientific Institute of Rabat Agdal, Ecotoxicology Laboratory, Avenue Ibn Batouta, 1014, Rabat 10000, Morocco
5 National Institute of Hygiene, Hydrology and Toxicology Laboratory, 27 Avenue Ibn Battouta, BO 769, Rabat 10000, Morocco


The application of chemical fertilizers and fungicides is an important source of heavy metals into the agricultural soil. Leaching and weathering can facilitate the transport of the contaminants through soil to the groundwater. In most rural areas, groundwater is used for drinking and irrigation purposes, without any treatment, population being exposed to direct contamination. The study area in this paper, Arjaat Village from Rabat Sal Zemour Zaer Region of Morocco, matches into this category. No previous assessment of the environmental quality was performed in this area. To accomplish the goal of our study, water samples were taken from 25 farm wells during two seasons: summer (dry season) and winter (wet season). Measurements of physico-chemical parameters, as well as Fe and heavy metal (Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, Mn, Cr, Ni) concentrations were performed, the data being compared with World Health Organization thresholds and analyzed using Hierarchical Cluster Analysis and spatial distribution analysis. The research, as a preliminary assessment of the Aarjat Village area confirmed a low degree of contamination of the groundwater, but also highlighted areas where accumulation of heavy metals manifests in correlation with seasonal variation and agricultural activities. Health risk assessment of the population was performed using Target Hazard Quotients, and the results proved to be below the limit for all heavy metals, except Zn during winter.


hazard index; hierarchical cluster analysis; spatial distribution; target hazard quotient

Full Text:

 Subscribers Only