Comparison Of The Qualities Of Well Water And Tap Water

Medical and Health Science Project and Seminar Material

Comparison Of The Qualities Of Well Water And Tap Water


Evaluation of qualities of well water and tap water commonly used in Enugu metropolis was carried out to ascertain their respective concentrations. The work which is a survey study, would help to reveal the level of contamination if any, and to authenticate, if the water samples are safe for drinking purposes. The pH, lead, zinc, copper and nitrate were estimated for, in the above water samples using standard analytical procedures. WHO standard recommended limit, was used to evaluate their quality. The mean pH of tap and well water samples were: 7.0±0.14 and 5.83±0.91 respectively. There was statistically significant difference (P< 0.05) in mean among all water samples. The result however showed no statistically significant difference (P > 0.05) among the mean value of tap water samples. It is also noted that among all the water samples, only the pH of well water, showed the value below the WHO recommended value. Zinc mean value in ppm for the water samples were 0.008±0.01, 0.013±0.02, 0.076±0.14 and 0.184±0.03 respectively. This showed statistically significant difference (P<0.05) in their mean contents. All other water samples with exception of well water, were within the WHO recommended value for drinking water as far as zinc was concerned. Copper was not detected in tap water samples while 0.012±0.06 ppm was estimated value in well water. The value was also within the internationally accepted standard. The study also recorded the value of lead in tap and well water samples as 0.053±0.02 and 0.036±0.03 ppm respectively. This showed statistically significant difference (p<0.05) in their mean. All the above lead results were above the recommended value too. For nitrate their respective mean values were 0.014±0.01 and 0.013±0.01 in mg/dl. No significant difference statistically was shown. All nitrate values were within the WHO reference limits. Just as the study revealed above, pH, zinc, copper and nitrate in tap water samples were within the WHO recommended standard while lead was above in both water samples. Measures should therefore be employed to reduce or even completely remove lead from public water supply because of the dangers it imposes on public health. In bottled water the spearman correlation analysis showed some relationship among the parameters. In other samples however, there was no statistically significant correlation.

Table of Content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Aim and Objectives
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Significance of the Study
  • 1.6 Scope of Study
  • 1.7 Definition of Terms
  • 1.8 Organisation of the Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Lead and Water
  • 2.2 Toxic Effects of Lead in Water
  • 2.3 Zinc and Water
  • 2.3.1 Kinetics and Metabolism of Zinc in Humans.
  • 2.3.2 High Zinc Levels in Water and its Effect on Humans.
  • 2.4 Copper and Water
  • 2.4.1 Kinetics and Metabolism of Copper in Humans.
  • 2.4.2 Effects on Humans
  • 2.4.3 Analytical Methods of Copper Estimation in Water
  • 2.5 Presence of Nitrates in Drinking Water
  • 2.5.1 Absorption, Distribution and Elimination of Nitrates.
  • 2.5.2 Toxicity of Nitrates to Humans.
  • 2.6 PH and Water Quality
  • 2.6.1 Effect of PH on Humans
  • 2.7 Waste Water
  • 2.7.1 Treatment/Re-Use
  • 2.8 Water Turbidity

Chapter Three

3.0 Materials and Methods

  • 3.1 Materials
  • 3.1.1 Study Design/Enumeration
  • 3.1.2 Enugu Metropolis- The Study Area
  • 3.1.3 Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
  • 3.2 Methods
  • 3.2.1 Sample Collection and Handling
  • 3.2.2 Laboratory (Biochemical) Analysis
  • 3.2.3 Heavy Metal Analysis
  • 3.2.4 Nitrate Determination
  • 3.2.5 Determination of PH
  • 3.3 Statistical Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Result
  • 4.2 Discussion of Findings

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Water is the most abundant liquid that exists in various places and parts of the universe. It occurs as a liquid or ice in oceans and rivers; water of hydration in rocks and minerals; and as water vapour in the atmosphere. Water is essential for life, second to air (Ababio, 2007).

In pure state, water is colourless, odourless and has no taste. It freezes and boils at zero degrees Celsius and hundred degrees Celsius respectively at atmospheric pressures. The latter property of water by extension, is very significant because it is used for calibration of thermometers (Mitchell, 1972). Chemically, water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen. To some degree, water can dissolve many naturally occurring substances on the earth.

Because of this, water is prone to contamination by substances with which it comes in contact with and therefore not available for use in pure state (Hem, 1985). This property of water particularly earned it the name universal solvent.

Sequel to above scenario, well water is constructed in most places in and around the metropolis. Proximity of groundwater might not be unconnected with the flooding of the metropolis with well too. Sachet water which the producers and peddlers claim to be pure, was introduced to the market as an alternative to the seemingly inadequate water supply. This receives maximum patronage, probably because of its affordability and accessibility.

The bottled water which the price is within the reach of the elite and upper-socioeconomic class was also introduced in Nigeria, Enugu metropolis inclusive. Some patronise this, not because of the purity alone, but also for the convenience of handling. According to Adenigba, (2014), packaged water of different brands which the vendours claim to be pure, are sourced privately and sold in most places in Nigeria.

One of the primary goals of World Health Organization (WHO) and its member states is that all people, whatever their stage of development, their social and economic conditions, have the right to have access to an adequate supply of safe drinking water. Consequent upon the vunerability of water to contamination by physico-chemical agents with their attendant health issues, microbial and chemical aspect of drinking water are subject to periodic review (Chandra, 1984).

Tap water is prone to contamination by zinc, lead, nitrate and copper. Zinc imparts an undesirable astringent taste to water (Elinder 1986). Water containing zinc at a concentration of 3-5mg/L also tends to appear opalescent and greasy on the surface when boiled. Acute and long term exposure to zinc toxicosis has been documented in various mammalian species to cause certain health disturbances which among them are carcinogenicity and hypocalcaemia which leads to bone resorption. Acute toxicity arising from the ingestion of excessive zinc either accidentally or deliberately as an emetic or dietary supplement cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps (Graham, 1987).

Until the united state of American and Canadian Government proscribed the use of lead as a plumbing material, it had been used in solder that contains copper pipes in household drinking water.

Water from such plumbing apparatus act as sources of lead to humans. Through leaching, lead can contaminate water and cause a variety of harmful health effects. The type and severity of these depend on the quantity of lead built up in our bodies. Health problems include learning and behavioural problems among children of school ages. Others include brain and kidney damage, anaemia and reduction in birth weight (WHO, 1996). Under normal condition, lead does not dissolve in water as a compound e.g. lead carbonate.

Nitrates is present in ground water. It emanates from the break down of fertilizer, decaying plants or other decaying organic matter which ultimately leach by rainwater or irrigation water (Self, 1998). If water containing high concentration of nitrates is taken, it may cause methaemoglobinaemia-an illness found especially in infants (Kendall, 1972).

At standard temperature and pressure (ATP), pure water has a pH of 7.0. It is however noted that dissolved chemicals and minerals, change the balance of these ions from perfectly neutral state .It is postulated that at low pH of water, there will be high concentration of copper. This is due to the gradual dissolution of the copper especially when the distribution water and cooking utensil are made of copper (Chuttani, 1985).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In Enugu metropolis, like any other town in Nigeria, the supply of water for domestic and industrial consumption is inadequate. World Health Organisation (WHO) report, revealed that over 61% of people in developing countries have access to water supply (Cheesbrough, 2002). It is regrettable that despite the ubiquity of water, accessibility of portable water is inadequate. Yet in another publication, the Network of Civil Society Organisation on Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN,2014), expressed concerns over the United Nations report that by the year 2030, water shortage in the world might increase by 40%, if drastic measures were not taken to reduce the current rate of water loss. To reduce high morbidity and mortality rate to a minimum level, supply of safe drinking water must not only be available in sufficient quantity but also easily accessible all the time with acceptable international standard. Water commonly used for consumption by the inhabitants of Enugu metropolis include packaged water (bottled and sachet), tap water and well water.

Although the state and federal Government are taking the provision of pipe borne water seriously, many parts including Emene, Abakpa, Achara layout, Gariki etc., are yet to benefit. It is against this background that the researcher seeks to carry out a comparison of the qualities of well water and tap water.

1.3 Aim and Objectives

The aim of this study is to carry out a comparison of the qualities of well water and tap water. Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;

  1. To estimate the qualities (pH, lead, zinc, copper and nitrate contents) of two water samples.
  2. To compare the qualities (pH, lead, zinc, copper and nitrate contents) of the two water samples.
  3. To test, if there is any relationship among the parameters under investigation.

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions are formulated to guide this research:

  1. What are the qualities (pH, lead, zinc, copper and nitrate contents) of the two water samples?
  2. What are the comparative difference in qualities (pH, lead, zinc, copper and nitrate contents) of the two water samples?
  3. Is there any relationship among the parameters under investigation?

1.5 Significance of the Study

For over two decades, all nooks and crannies of Enugu metropolis like any other town in Nigeria, are flooded with all sorts of water. Such water which may be in sachet forms or in bottles, are claimed to be pure. It is a well-known fact that it has not been scientifically validated to be pure biochemically and other wise. The purpose is to critically evaluate some of these claims about qualities of water being consumed by unsuspecting public from standpoint of modern biochemistry and physiology. Such examination will be extended to tap water and well water consumed in the place under study, since they have their own shortcomings. The findings of this study will help us to know which one meets up the standard while promoting public health awareness, as one should be mindful of what he or she takes considering the astronomical increase of disease of unknown aetiology.

1.6 Scope of Study

This study was carried out in Enugu Metropolis using two water sources of tap and well water. The study was limited to comparison of the qualities of well water and tap water.

1.7 Definition of Terms


A consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things, in this case, well water and tap water.


Is a substance composed of the chemical elements hydrogen and oxygen and existing in gaseous, liquid, and solid states. It is one of the most plentiful and essential of compounds. A tasteless and odourless liquid at room temperature, it has the important ability to dissolve many other substances.

Well Water:

Is groundwater that is untreated. Well drillers drill down to the aquifer, which is an underground layer of permeable rock containing water. Then, a pump system is installed to carry the water up from the ground and into your home. It isn’t hard to find drinkable groundwater.

Tap Water:

Also known as faucet water, running water, or municipal water, is water supplied through a tap, a water dispenser valve. Tap water is commonly used for drinking, cooking, washing, and toilet flushing.

1.8 Organisation of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding it is broken down as follows:

  • Chapter one kicks off with the introduction, which consists of the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research hypothesis, scope and significance of the study.
  • Chapter two begins with the conceptual framework on which the study is based, the theoretical literatures and also the empirical literature and thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the materials and methods used for the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis, interpretation and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The study was carried out to compare the qualities of well water and tap water. It is always known that qualities of good water includes that it is colourless, odourless and tasteless among other things. Water becomes coloured, gets odour and taste when it is contaminated by some elements above acceptable level. This work revealed that these water samples especially tap water appeared to be of good quality since zinc, copper, and nitrate were either undetected or detected but within the internationally accepted standard. Their pH also exhibited the neutrality which maintained drinking water characteristics.

5.2 Conclusion

It is worthy to mention that in the water samples analyzed in this study, their purity is not absolute, since lead content of all the water sample were above the upper limit of standard reference range. Conclusively, this study also provided an informed clinical advice for those that drink well water especially after boiling, with the notion that boiling can remove all bacterial contamination, to have a rethink, since boiling does nothing to pH which the research indicated to be low (Acidic) having known the effect of extreme pH of water to humans.

5.3 Recommendation

  1. There should be a legislation by the National Assembly or State Assemblies which will prohibit the use of lead or copper galvanized pipes by water Board/Ministry of water resources or whoever, from public water supplies to our homes.
  2. National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to incorporate in the analysis and surveillance of all water, biochemical procedures, to ensure that they are free from metals especially heavy metals. Their monitoring should also be continuous even when they have issued (NAFDAC) Number since it is speculated that owners of water industries easily reduce the standard once approval is made. They should borrow a leaf from National University Commission (NUC) which carries out accreditation of Nigerian Universities on regular basis.
  3. Further studies should be done on more metals and non-metals in water commonly used by humans. Their local reference levels should be established to ascertain if there is any difference between water used locally and that of western countries.

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