Abattoir Effluent – Effect On Physiocochemical Properties Of Surface Water

Abattoir Effluent – Effect On Physiocochemical Properties Of Surface Water

Abattoir Effluent – Effect On Physiocochemical Properties Of Surface Water

Used engine oil, refers to any lubricating oil that has served its service properties in a vehicle withdrawn from the meant of application and considered not fit for its initial purpose (Kojervnikova, 1999).

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The main function is to lubricate moving parts; it also cleans, inhibits corrosion, improves sealing, and cools the engine by carrying heat away from moving parts. These used lubricants contain a lot of toxic and carcinogenic substance that can have detrimental effects to the ecosystem.

Basically, lubricating oils are produced by some refining processes of crude oils. After undergoing several production processes, additives like detergents, corrosion inhibitors and rust inhibitors are usually incorporated to boost some of the oil properties like viscosity, thermal and oxidation stability, etc (Dauda and Obi, 2000). These additives when exposed to the atmosphere have toxic effect to humans and animals when in contact with them (Evdokimov and Fooks, 1989). Used oil contains metals such as copper, aluminum, chromium, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, silicon and tin which come as a result of wear. Several of these contaminants are toxic and harmful to the environment (Kojervnikova, 1999).

The history of automobiles in Nigeria has followed the history of the automobiles in the area of increased auto technology. As the mobility of auto cars increased, the need for auto mechanics grew tremendously (Okolo, 2006).

During auto mechanic activities, large amount of spent engine oils are liberated into the environment as the motor is serviced and disposed into gutters, ground, water drained in open vacant plots and on farmland (Objegba and Sadiqi, 2002; Achuba and Clarke, 2008). This oil does not just pollute our water ways but also affects our health (Diane stroup, 2009). Also used engine oil enters into aquatic media through runoff following unguided disposal spent engine oil is also released into the environment and due to engine leaks (Anoliefo and Edegbai, 2000; Osubor and Anolifo, 2003; Achuba and Clarke 2008).

Used oil is less viscous than unused oil; when disposed off into the soil, it absorbs to the soil particles, reduces porosity and therefore reduces aeration of soil (Alloway and Ayres, 1997, Plummer and McGreary, 1993). The soil is a complex biogeochemical material on which plants may grow and they have structural and biological properties. Many soil processes occur at the surface reactions where the soil solution meets solids, gasses or living cells undergoes surface reactions which include absorption of ions and nutrients, and diffusion of gases from adjacent soil. These reactions allow plants toxins and other pollutants to be largely held or leached freely as water passes through the soil (Enger and Smith, 2001).

The hazards associated with used engine oil result from the various additives used in its manufacture and from the heavy metals contaminants picked up from use in the internal combustion engine (Corsico et; al. 1999). Used engine oil poured down directly onto the ground, can work its way into the water ways. Illogically disposed or spent engine oil can pollute the ground water with contaminants such as lead, magnesium, copper, zinc, chromium, arsenic, chlorides, cadmium and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs). The amount of used engine oil disposed off improperly by do it yourself auto mechanics every eighteen (18) days is approximately 11 million gallons. One gallon of used engine oil can contaminate one million fresh water; a year supply of fresh water for fifty people (Alloway and Ayres, 1997). The contamination of ground water quality by used engine oil from auto mechanic activities in a particular site is clear.

1.2 Main Objective

The main objective of this research is to determine the effects of used engine oil on ground water quality around Abakaliki mechanic village.

1.3 Specific Objectives

– Determination of the physical and chemical properties of ground water in the study area.

– To compare the chemical properties and consistency limits of ground water in study area with WHO standard.


2.1 Spent Engine Oil

The American environmental protection agency defined spent engine oil as used oil that has been refined from crude oil or made from synthetic material (animal and vegetable oil excluded) that has been used as lubricant, hydraulic fluid, heat transfer fluid and for other similar purposes and as a result of such use is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities. And it is a common and toxic environmental pollutants not naturally found in the environment (Dominguez and Pichtel, 2004; Achuba et: al., 2008).

According to Enger and Smith (2004), from a report by the U.S environmental Protection Agency, spent engine oil are defined as having one or more of the following characteristics.

Firstly, ignitability; where spent engine oils can pose fire hazard during routine management.

Secondly, it is corrosive and requires special containers because of its ability to dissolve toxic pollutants. Thirdly, spent engine oil is reactive during routine management; tend to react spontaneously with air or water. This makes it unstable to shock or heat and can generate toxic gases or exploit.

Lastly, spent engine oil when improperly managed may release pollutants in sufficient quantities to pose a substantial hazard to human health or the environment (Enger and Smith, 2004).

2.2 Physical Component of Spent Engine Oil

Most motor oils are made from a heavier thicker petroleum hydrocarbon base stock derived from crude oil, with additives to improve certain properties. The bulk of typical motor oil consists of hydrocarbon with between 18 and 34 carbon atom per molecule.

Used engine oil is less viscous than unused oil. Spent engine oil is a brown to black liquid produced new mineral based crankcase oil is subjected to high temperature and high mechanized strain that include metal showing, saw dust and dirt (Achuba et: al., 2008).

2.3 Chemical Component of Spent Engine Oil

Spent engine oil is a mixture of several different chemical (Wang et al, 2000). These include low and high molecular weight (Cl13 to C20), aliphatic hydrocarbon, aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorodibenzofurans, lubricative additivies, decomposition products, heavy metal contaminants such as aluminum, chromium, tin, lead, manganese, nickel and silicon from engine part as they wear down (ATSDR, 1997), Achuba (2008), also noted that spent engine oil could include solvents. These hydrocarbons present in used engine oil have been distilled and concentrated by use in a combustion engine. The chemical found in used mineral based crankcase oil vary depending on the brand and type of oil, whether gasoline or diesel fuel was used, the mechanical condition of the engine that the oil came from, and the amount of use between oil changes (ATSDR, 1997).

2.3.1 Sources and Composition of Engine Oil

The most important considerate in engine oil is the reduction of friction and control of wears, where viscosity is the primary factor performance which was obtained by blending base stock or base oil with various composition of various additives. So achieving the right viscosity relies on selection the right base stocks and blending item with performance additives to enhance functional performance. With the advancement in refinery technologies specifically in lube processing, a sophisticated refining technique e.g. hydro treating/hydro cracking, have been introduced to convert the undesirable component of the base stock (Institute of Petroleum, 1987). Basically, the base stock used in formulation of engine oil is either of mineral (petroleum) or synthetic origin (Institute of Petroleum, 1987).

Mineral base oil is those products obtained from refining petroleum crude. While synthetic on the other hand is those products made from petroleum or vegetable feed stock and are often “tailor made” for specific application. The additive blended with this base oil are of different range and these include the following: anti-wears, and friction additives, extreme pressure agent antioxidants, corrosion and rust inhibitors, pour pint depressants, anti foam additive, metal deactivators, viscosity index improver (ATSDR, 1997).

2.3.2 Application of Spent Engine Oil

Spent engine can now be used for different purpose. These include:

Reprocessed to residual replacement fuel oil, the spent engine oil can be blended with high sulphur content of the fuel oil consumed. This blended fuel oil is typically consumed in electrical power generation facilities. These electric utilities will gain air emission credit for this practice since they burn a fuel of relatively sulphur content than if they burned only the refined. A significant end use of spent engine oil is large energy uses such as cement and lime kilins and steel mills. Such equipment and processes operate at very elevated temperature and consume large quantities of energy the fuel utilized for such application is typically low grade and low value (Institute of Petroleum, 1987).

Thermal cracking the spent engine oil to produce distilled gas oil: Gas oil is petroleum distillated that is also called heating oil, furnace oil, diesel fuel, stove oil etc. it has a boiling range that generally starts at 200oC and ends about 36oC. This thermal cracking of spent engine oil process help in breaking the large hydrocarbons molecules into smaller ones by application of sufficient heat in a pressurized vessel. In this fashion, large molecule of more viscosity and less valuable hydrocarbons are converted to less viscous and more valuable liquid fuels, thus increasing it values (Institute of Petroleum, 1987).

2.3.3 Health Effects of Spent Engine Oil

The health effects of used mineral-based crankcase oil vary depending on the brand and type of soil used and the characteristic of the engine it came from (ATSDR, 1997).

Mechanics and other auto workers who are exposed to used mineral-base crankcase oil for a few minutes had slightly irritated noses, throats, and eyes, animals that are large amounts of this oil developed oil. Thus, people who swallow used mineral based crankcase oil may also have diarrhea. Some cows that ate used oil containing metals such as molybdenum and lead in contaminate pastures experienced anemia and tremors, some of the cow died (ATSDR, 1997). United State Department of Health and Human Services stated that it is not yet proved if exposure to used mineral-based crankcase oil affects the reproductive ability of men or women or whether it causes birth defect.

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According to the Agency of Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (1997), long term exposure (365 days or long) of the skin to used mineral-base crankcase oil causes skin cancer in mice. Oil contain PAHs, some PAHs have been identified as cancer-causing agents. Animal test have shown that the higher the PAH content in oil, the more likely for the oil to be carcinogenic. The toxic and carcinogenic products may be formed as consequence of thermal development of lubrication materials upon processing, transportation, exploitation and storage oxidation of lubrication oil hydrocarbons at the point of application is accompanied by released radicals that transform to peroxides, subsequent condensation and polymerization of which produce per acids, nephtenic acids, etc (Edvdokimov and Fooks, 1989). Immediate effects include slight irritation to eyes or skin, significant irritation to the nose, throat and lungs (ATSDR, 1997).

2.3.4 The Effect of Motor Oil on the Environment

The improper disposal of motor oil results in ground water contamination. According to a study published in the journal of environment science and technology in 2004, the United States generates as much as one billion gallons of used oil in a year. The majority of this oil consists of motor oil, transmission oils and hydraulic fluids used within the automotive and manufacturing industries. Used motor oil in particular contains toxic materials that pose a genuine threat to human health and the health of the environment.

Ground water contamination: Individuals who ought to change their own car oil are left with a basin of use motor oil that requires disposal. Improper methods include dumping into garbage cans and onto the ground, as pouring it down storm drains and sewers as well as sinks and commodes. Each of one of these disposal routes sends used oil into the local ground water system or waste contamination results when oil absorbs through soil layers and makes its way into lakes, streams, and rivers. These freshwater areas take on poisonous materials that harm fish and surrounding wildlife. Materials that end up at waste treatment facilities require expensive cleanup processes that ultimately increase the cost of those services.

Soil effects: A research study conducted in 2009 by Karachi University in Pakistan examined the effects of used engine within soil environments. Samples of soil were collected from 15 sites and analyzed to determine their chemical properties. Researchers found different concentrations of metal materials that consisted of arsenic, lead, cadmium, zinc, barium and chromium all of which are toxic materials. The soil samples also contained polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs which are highly toxic cancer-causing agents. PAHs result from the effects of combustion on used oil within the working of a motor. In effect, PAHs, pose a significant threat to soil ecosystem balance and environmental health overall.

Heavy metal emission: Used motor oil contains heavy metal materials made up of tiny fragments form engine parts. It also contains anti freeze and gasoline that result from the combustion process, according to the Agency for Toxic substances and Disease Registry. In effect, fuel derived from used motor oil produce heavy metal emission due to the high temperature and pressures that take place inside an engine. Heavy metal emissions contain potentially dangerous levels of zinc, copper, lead and cadmium. According to a research study performed by the California Department of Toxic Substance control in 2004, emissions amounted to 6.5 metric tons for copper and lead, and 136 metric tons for zinc, in terms of total mass amounts. These amounts also represent national emission totals from used motor oil materials.

Suffocation: When spent engine oil is dropped into the soil, it not only kills off microbial life but can also make the soil organism. This inactivity leads to a lack of aeration in the soil that can literally suffocate soil until the affected areas is little more than dust. Soil polluted in this way is unsuitable for any growth, and contaminated areas have taken years and specialized treatment to recover fertility.

2.4 Ground Water

Ground water is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore space and in the fractures of rock formation. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer, when it can yield a usable quantity of water. Groundwater makes up about twenty percent of the world’s fresh water supply, which is about 0.61% of the entire world’s water, including oceans and permanent ice. Global groundwater storage is roughly equal to the total amount of freshwater stored in the snow and ice pack, this makes it an important resource which can acts as a natural storage that can buffer against shortages of surface water as in during times of drought (Greenburg, 2005). Groundnut is naturally replenished by surface water from precipitation, streams and rivers when this recharge reaches the water table. Ground water can be a long-term reservoir of the natural water cycle (with resistance times from days to millennia), as opposed to short term water reservoirs like the atmosphere and fresh surface water (which have residence times from minutes to years). Ground water is recharged from, and eventually flows to, the surface naturally; natural discharge often occurs at springs and seeps, and can form oases or wetlands. Ground water is also often withdrawn for agricultural, municipal and industrial use by constructing and operating extraction wells use by construction and operating extraction wells.

2.4.1 Formation of Ground Water

Formed ground water comes from rain water and surface water, which seep (infiltrate) into the initially unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) and then penetrate deeper (percolate) water until it reaches the saturated zone and into ground water. Ground water is one facet in the hydrological cycle, that is, an event that is always repeated the sequence of stage through which water from the atmosphere to earth and back into the atmosphere evaporation from land or sea or inland or sea or in land water, condensation form clouds, outpouring, water bodies and the evaporation again (Enger and Smith, 2004). From the hydrological cycle it can be understood that ground water interacts with surface water and other components involved in the hydrologic cycle including topography, types of rock cover, land use, vegetable cover and the man.

Ground water makes up more than one fifth (22%) if Earth’s total fresh water supply and it plays a number of critical hydro-logical (water-related), geographical and biological roles in the continents. Soil and rock layers in ground water recharge zones (an entry point where water enters an aquifer) reduce flooding by absorbing excess runoff after heavy rains and spring snow melts. Aquifers store water through dry seasons and dry weather and ground water flow carries water beneath acid deserts and semi-arid grass lands. Ground water discharge replenishes streams, lakes, and wetlands on the land surface and is especially important in air regions that receive limited rainfall. Flowing ground water interacts with rocks and minerals in aquifers, and caries dissolved rock building chemicals and biological nutrients. Vibrant communities of plants and animals (ecosystem) live in and around ground water springs and seeps.

Almost all of the fresh liquid water that is readily available for human use comes from underground water in streams, lakes, wells, wetlands, the atmosphere and within living organisms makes up early a tiny portion of earth’s freshwater). For thousands of years, humans have used ground water from springs and shallow walls to fill drinking water reservoirs and water livestock and crops. Today, human water needs far exceed surface water supplies in many regions, and earth’s rapidly-growing ever larger demand for clean fresh water.

Aquifers: Fresh Water Underground

An aquifer is a body of rock or soil that yields water for human use. Most aquifers are water-saturated layers or loose sediments. With the exception of a few aquifers that have water-filled caves within them, aquifer are not underground lakes or holding tanks, but rather rock “sponges” that hold ground water in tiny cracks, cavities, and pores (tiny openings in which a liquid can pass) between mineral grown (rocks are made of minerals). The total amount of empty pore space in the rock material, called its porosity, determines the amount of groundwater it can hold. Materials like sand and gravel have high porosity, meaning that they can absorb a high amount of water. Rocks like granites, marbles and limestone have low porosity, and make poor ground water reservoirs.

Aquifers must have high permeability in addition to high porosity. Permeability is the ability of the rock or other material to allow water to pass through it. The pore space in permeable materials is interconnected throughout the rock or sediment, allowing groundwater to move freely through it. Some high porosity materials, like mud and clay, have very low permeability. They soak up and hold water, but do not release it easily or other ground water discharge points, so they are not good aquifer materials. Sandstone, limestone, fractured granite, glacial sediment, loose sand, and gravel are examples of materials that make good aquifers.

2.4.2 Physical Characteristics of Ground Water


The turbidity of groundwater sample is a measure of the ability of suspended and colloidal materials that is caused by the presence of suspended matter such as clay, silt and fine particles of organic and inorganic matter, plankton, and other microscopic organisms. The standard instrument for the determination of turbidity is the Jackson candle turbid meter (Nnaemeka, 2004).


Colour in groundwater is attributable to material solution. These materials are primarily organic compounds leached from decaying leaves, plants, organic matter, copper, iron and manganese. Some metallic substance such as iron (Fe) compound impact colour to ground water (Onwa, 2009).


Some substances such as certain organic salts produce a taste without an odour and can be evaluated by a taste test. Many other sensations ascribed to the sense of taste actually are odours, even though the sensation is not noticed until the material is taken into the mouth.


Certain odours may be indicative of organic or non organic contaminant that originates from municipal or industrial waste discharge from natural sources.

2.4.3 Chemical Properties of Ground Water

One of the most important chemical properties of groundwater is its hardness. Historically, hardness has been characterized by the formation of insoluble salts of the fatty acids found in soaps and by the deposition of scales on heated surface. For years, the standard analytical method of determining hardness was by the addition of a standard soap solution to a sample until a persistent lather was obtained. This method is not now generally used for precise water measurements, but is widely used for water softening control procedures. But hardness is due to the presence of calcium and magnesium in ground water, although strontium also reacts are hardness (Njoku, 2007).

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The total hardness of water is often divided into carbonate (temporary) and non-carbonate (permanent) hardness. Hardness is estimated as carbonate hardness. If the total hardness exceeds the carbonate hardness and bicarbonate alkalinity, and the excess is considered non-carbonate hardness. The principal anions associated with non-carbonate hardness are sulfate, chloride and nitrate.

Nnaemeka (2004) explained another property of groundwater.

Ground water alkalinity: the ability of groundwater to neutralize acid which is termed alkalinity of groundwater is due primarily to the presence of hydroxide bicarbonate and carbonate. The presence of borate phosphate, silicate and other ionic constituents impact additional alkalinity to groundwater as an equivalent amount of calcium carbonate (CaCo3).

The pH of the groundwater is determined primarily by the presence of free mineral acids, carbonic acids, silicate, hydroxide and other ionic constituents. Acidity of ground water has a pH below about 4.5 and has a property termed acidity (WHO, 1989).

2.4.4 Specific Electrical Conductance

All water is capable of conducting an electric current. The standard measure of this capability is termed specific electrical conductance. Specific electrical conductance is temperature dependent and should be reported for a standard temperature, usually 25oC. Conductance depends on the concentration of ionized mineral salts in solution and the limited extent, and there a sample relationship between the two. The validity of the relationship generally becomes doubtful for conductivities higher than 50,000 micrombs (Njoku, 2007). Specific electrical conductance is measured with a conductivity cell balance with a wheat stone bridge (Nnaemeka, 2004).

2.5 Biological Characteristics of Ground Water

Ground water quality can be influence directly and indirectly by microbiological processes which can transform both inorganic and organic constituents of ground water. These biological transformations usually hasten geochemical process (Chapelle, 1993). Single and multi-celled organisms have become adapted to using the dissolved material and suspended solids in the water and solid water in the aquifer in their metabolism, and them releasing the metabolic products back into the water (Mathess, 1982). There is practically no geological environment at, or near, the earth’s surface where the pH condition will not support some form of organic life (Chilton and West, 1992). In addition to groups tolerating extremes pH, there are groups of microbes which prefer low temperature (psychrophiles), others which prefer high temperature (Ehrlich, 1990), and yet others which are tolerant of high pressures. However the most biologically favorable environments generally occur in warm, humid conditions.

All organic compounds can act as potential sources for organisms. Mostly oxygen concentration is low; some bacteria can use alternatives such as nitrate, sulphate and carbon dioxide.

2.5.1 Ground Water Quality

Just because you have well that yields plenty of water does not mean that you can go ahead and just take and drink. Because water is such an excellent solvent, it can contain lots of dissolved chemicals. And since ground water moves through rocks and subsurface soil, it has a lot of opportunity to dissolve substance as it moves. For that reason, ground water will often have more dissolved substances than surface water.

Even though the ground is an excellent mechanism for filtering out particulate matter such as leaves, soil, and bugs, dissolved chemicals and gases can still occur in large enough concentrations in ground water to cause problems.

2.5.2 Ground Water Pollution

Ground water cannot be polluted easily comparing with surface water because it is protected naturally, does not require much treatment and it is reliable. Ground water pollution is a modification of the physical, chemical and biological properties of water. Substances that can pollute ground water can be divided into two. There are naturally occurring pollutants and pollutants produced by human activities, and include:

i. Sea Water Intrusion

In the coastal plain where surface water is not enough and ground water is limited, increasing water demand for tourism sector in addition to irrigation and domestic water supply is threat for ground water. Finally, if ground water is over exploited, sea water moves to the aquifer and quality of ground water starts to deteriorate because salt concentration increases.

ii. Lake-River-Aquifer Relations

In hydraulic cycle, lake and aquifer affect each other. That’s why if any of them is polluted, that makes negatives impaction on the others.

iii. Geothermal Affects

The chemical composition of ground water is determined by composition of the materials it contacts and its duration. The longer the contact period, the more minerals are dissolved. Especially thermal water causes bad effects for fresh groundwater. It carries more minerals and materials deteriorating water quality. In addition to this, during geothermal activities, mineral water infiltrates. This is a big thread for unconfined aquifers.

iv. Pollutants Originated from Geological formation

Geological formation containing salt, gypsum, etc covers large areas in Turkey. In some groundwater basin, there are impervious barriers between fresh water bearing formations and salty water layers. Salty water and fresh drilling methods in these formations, salty water and fresh groundwater can be increased. And quality of fresh water can be deteriorated (Cengiz, 2005).

Ground Water Pollution Produced by Human Activities

According to Cengiz (2005), pollution sources produced by human activities can be grouped into 3 general categories. These are municipal, industrial and agricultural disposal.

i. Municipal Disposal

Pollution sources may be point sources or non-point sources in developing country, point sources are mainly municipal disposal due to fewer services such as poor sewage systems. Rapid and uncontrolled urbanization over the areas that have groundwater potential is an important risk. Especially in Kars tic areas; this may be more dangerous because of cracks, fractures and the high capacity of permeability. Also the volume of municipal disposal is increasing day by day because of over population.

ii. Industrial Disposal

Because many factories have been constructed on the aquifer and unfiltered waste water has been infiltrated to ground water, heavy metal is analyzed in the ground water. In order to minimize water pollution, waste water treatment plants have to be constructed. Besides, waste water should be stored in the waste water dam. So, seepage to the aquifer should be prevented or after treatment polluted water can be conveyed to disposal area.

iii. Agricultural Pollutants

The use of pesticides and fertilizers is growing due to agricultural activities. This causes pollution. To prevent pollution, negative effect of that activity should be controlled. Especially, ground water recharge areas must be estimated, and the usage of chemical must be prohibited in that area. In terms of real extent, agriculture is one of the most widespread human activities.

Factors Affecting Ground Water Contamination

Solubility: As water seeps through the soil, it carries with it water soluble chemicals. This process is called leaching. The more water soluble a chemical is, the more likely it is to leach.

Adsorption: Many chemicals do not leach because they are adsorbed, or tightly held, by soil particles. Adsorption depends not also on the soil and the amount of organic matter present.

Degradation: Pesticides are degraded, or broken down by heat, sunlight, microorganism and a variety of physical and chemical properties. Most pesticides degradation takes place within the top few inches of soil. Pesticides that take a relatively long time to degrade are said to be persistent. The longer the compounds persist in the soil, the longer it is available to leach into ground water.

Volatility: Compounds that vaporize readily are said to be vaporize readily are said to be volatile. If a chemical is highly volatile and not very water soluble, it is likely to be lost to the atmosphere, and less likely to leach into ground water contaminants, however, if they are also highly soluble in water (Brown, 2003).

Soil Properties

Soil Texture: The relative proportions of sand, silt and clay determines the texture of a soil. Texture affects movement of water through soil, and thus also movement of dissolved chemicals, such as pesticide. The coarser the soil, the faster the movement of percolating water, and the less opportunity for adsorption of evaporation. Soil with higher clay or organic matter content tends to hold water and dissolved chemicals longer.

Soil permeability: Soil that allows water to move downward very quickly is highly permeable. Dissolved chemicals are carried along with the water and thus more likely to reach ground water in soils that are highly permeable.

Organic matter content: The amount of organic matter in the soil affects the adsorption capacity of a soil and the amount of water the soil can hold. Soil with a high organic matter content tend to hold water and dissolved chemicals (Brown, 2003).

Site Condition

Depth to ground water: The shallower the depth to ground water, the less soil there is to acts as a filter, and the fewer opportunities there are for degradation and adsorption of chemicals.

Rainfall: If rainfall is high and soils are permeable water carrying dissolved chemicals may take only a few drops to percolate downward to ground water.

Geologic condition: The permeability of the geologic layers between the soil and groundwater also affects the probability of contamination. Highly permeable materials, such as gravel deposits, allow water and dissolved compounds to freely percolate down to groundwater. Layers of clay are much less permeable and thus inhibit the movement of water and chemicals. Karst, or limestone formation with sinks or separations in the rock, underlies soil. In Werstern Maryland; these sinks can act as direct entry ways for contaminants (Brown, 2003).


3.1 The Study Area

The study area is mechanic village near rice mill industry Abakaliki in Ebonyi State. The area lies within latitude 06o04’N and longitude 08o65’E of the equator in the South Eastern Nigeria with relative humidity of 1700-2000mm. The area is characterized by high temperature of about 27oC and with mean monthly temperature ranging between 20oC to 28oC (Mgbada, 2004). The rainfall pattern is bi-modal with peak periods in the months of July and September and dry season within November to March (FDALR, 1985). The area is generally on the plane land and the soil in Abakaliki is ultisoil and classified as typical haplustult (FDALR, 1985).

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3.2 Sample Collection .

Water samples were collected from the two boreholes inside the mechanic village (SA and SB). Water samples were collected using sterilized polyethylene bottles and were analyzed at PRODA laboratory in Enugu

Three soil samples were collected in polyethylene bags at 0-15cm, 15-30cm and 30-45cm depths using soil auger and tape to determine the concentration of heavy metals at varying depth in high spent engine oil contaminated area.

3.3 Samples Preparation and Analyses

Water samples brought to the laboratory were acidified with concentrated nitric acid for preservation before analyses. Soil samples were air-dried, ground to fairly uniform size and sieved with 2mm sieve. They were the digested with nitric acid, the solutions were centrifuged at 2000 rpm for 10 minutes to separate the clear solution from residue. Thereafter, the clear solutions were filtered through whatman No. 1 filter papers.

Titration method was used to determine some physical and chemical properties and culturing media was also used to know whether coliform and E.coli was present. Some chemical properties were determined using flame photometer. Both soil and water samples were analyzed for heavy metals using flame Atomic Absorption spectrophotometer (FASS) (Fuentes et al., 2004).

3.4 Statistical Analyses

The data collected was analyzed using arithmetic mean and compared to WHO standard.


The results of the analyses were presented in table 1 and 2 and the discussion follows.

Table 1: Values for Water Parameters


Unit SA SB WHO Standard

pH at 28oC 7.2 7.3 9.50

Colour – – – –

Odour – – – –

Conductivity Ns/cm 542 628 1,200

Total solid

Total hardness Mg/l 470 461 1,500

Dissolved oxygen Mg/l 13.05 13.00 –

E.coli – Nil Nil 0

Coliforn – Nil Nil 0

Alkalinity Mg/l 146 148 100.0

Iron Mg/l 0.25 0.020 3.0

Chloride Mg/l 160.05 180.05 250.0

Sulphate Mg/l 88.90 101.00 500.0

Nitrate Mg/l 0.12 0.12 50.0

Nitrate Mg/l – – 3.0

Cadmium Mg/l 0.002 – 0.01

Lead Mg/l 0.003 0.004 0.01

Zinc Mg/l 0.022 0.012 3.0

Copper Mg/l 0.009 0.011 3.0

Manganese Mg/l 0.040 0.020 0.4

Calcium Mg/l 69.50 60.52 75.0

Magnesium Mg/l 45.26 48.30 20.0


Mg/l 1,497.344 1,647.357 3,716.92

Mean (x)

Mg/l 93.584 102.960 218.642

Table 2: Heavy Metal Concentrations (mgkg-1) Level in Soil Around Mechanic Village in Highly Spent Engine Oil Contaminated Area

Depth(cm) Pb Zn Cu Mn Cd

S1 68.85 252.06 201.20 524.10 4.01

S2 42.10 120.49 78.10 180.90 3.15

S3 18.11 12.60 12.10 19.12 1.17


129.06 385.56 291.4 724.12 8.33

Mean (x)

43.02 128.52 97.13 241.37 2.78

S1 = Soil Sample from 0 – 15cm depth

S2 = Soil Sample from 15 – 30cm depth

S3 = Soil Sample from 30 – 45cm depth

The result showed that SA and SB were clear in appearances. The entire analyzed water samples were odourless. The conductivities of the samples ranged from 542 to 628 with sample A having the lower value of 542, while sample B had the higher value of 870s/cm which are below WHO acceptable limit standard (1200s/cm), conductance depends on the concentration of ionized mineral salts. The total solid contents were within the WHO’s highest desirable and maximum permissive levels. The results were 470 and 461mg/l in SB and SA respectively. And since ground water moves through rocks and subsurface soil, it has a lot of opportunity to dissolve substances as it moves. For that reasonss, ground water will often have more dissolved substances (Nnaemeka, 2004).

The pH for the water samples were all below the WHO’s highest desirable and maximum permissive levels. The results showed that the pH ranged from 7.2 to 7.3 which were close to the standard required by WHO. The results for alkalinity of water samples (SA and SB) were 146mg/l and 148 mg/l which exceeded WHO standard. Alkalinity concentration usually has a positive correlation with pH values. The higher the pH value, the higher the alkalinity, the high value in pH of SA and SB could be associated with the presence of hydroxide, bicarbonate, carbonate phosphate, silicate and other ionic constitutions in water ( WHO, 2004).

The total hardness ranged from 461 to 470. Samples A had the higher value of 396mg/l while the sample B had the lower value of 359mg/l. The values were however lower than the minimum specified by WHO standard (500mg/l). Hardness of water is due to metallic ions of calcium and magnesium; it inhibits lather formation, not suitable for brewing and produced scales on boiler equipments, thus resulting in higher energy cost (WHO, 2004).

No nitrite was formed but Nitrate concentration was found to occur from a range of 0.12 to 0.21 mg/l in sample A and B respectively. Results for iron fell below WHO acceptable standard. This could be attributed by the presence of metallic minerals beneath the earth crust. Presence of iron in substantial quantities can render water unsuitable for food processing (Goel, 2006).

Chloride concentration ranged from 160.05mg/l in SA to 180.65mg/l in SB and fell within acceptable limits of the WHO standard. The concentration could be attributed to the amount of natural impurities that depend on the nature of geological material through which the ground water moves. The values of sulphate ranged from 88.90mg/l to 101.00mg/l, although the values were attributed as a result of sulphate load on the spent engine oil. Numerous chemical such as Zinc. Disulphate is always added to the original base oil (Paranapthalene and aromatics) to improve the functionality of the oil (Alloway and Ayres, 1997). And it may be attributed also by the presence of sulphide ores, gypsum etc below aquifer (Onwa, 2009).

Magnesium concentration exceeded WHO desirable and maximum, permissible standard while calcium content fell below WHO standard (75mg/l). These could be attributed by the presence of clay minerals, carbonate calcite, magnesite, dolomite etc. below the aquifer (Todd, 1980).

The water samples (SA and SB) showed traced of heavy metals. But soil samples showed general trend of heavy metals, some exceeded WHO standard while others are close to upper limits. The content of cadmium in sample A was in traced amount and was not found in Sample B. cadmium was found in smaller amount in the soil samples, which ranges from 1.17 to 4.01 mg/kg-1 from 0-15cm to 30-45cm respectively. This was as a result of direct disposal of used engine oil in the soil

Zinc values ranged from 0.012 to 0.022 mg/l in Sample B and A, but fell below WHO standard of 3.0 mg/l as a result of leached used engine oil. Used oil contains metals such as copper, chromium, zinc, lead, manganese etc which comes as a result of wear of engine parts (Klamman and Dieter, 1984). Zinc was also found in high sufficient amount in varying depth in soil.

Lead (Pb) was found in traced amount. The amount ranged from 0.03 to 0.004 mg/l in water samples (SA&SB). It was found in high amount in top soil but decreased with depth in the subsoil (65.85-18.11 mgkg-1). Lead content fell below WHO minimum and permissive level standard. This was as a result of load of spent engine oil disposed in soil directly.

Copper (Cu) content were found in traced amount of water samples (0.009 and 0.011mg/l) which fell below WHO acceptable limit standard at 2.0 mg/l. It was found in sufficient amount in soil; ranges from 201.20 mg/kg to 78.10 mg/kg from the depth of 0-15cm to 15-30cm respectively. The high content of copper was as a result of load of used engine oil in the soil, which leached down to the aquifer.

The amount of manganese ranged from 0.020 to 0.040 mg/s in Sample B and A respectively and this fell below WHO acceptable limit standard (0.4mg) due to the load of spent oil in soil, manganese had the highest value in top and subsoil with 524.10 and 19.12 mgkg-1. This attributed to its higher content in water samples (SA and SB), because it leached down to aquifer. Geological deposits and minerals may also attribute to manganese content.

The water samples were negative for E.coli and Colifom bacterial which implied that the water is microbiologically free.


5.1 Conclusion

The findings of this study have shown that the ground water in Abakaliki mechanic Village is safe and healthy for drinking and domestic use. From the stand point of both physiochemical and microbiological parameters examined which were compared to WHO standard, the quality of water is in order but are hard water because of high magnesium and calcium ions. The traced amounts of heavy metal content were influenced by the volume of spent engine oil in soil but however, leaching transport heavy metals down the aquifer. Continuous exposure to them poses a threat to the ground water quality in future and this could be harmful to humans; different persons respond differently to these metals (Alloway and Ayres, 1997; Draggan 2007).

5.2 Recommendations

Based on the findings, auto mechanic waste should be provided with proper disposal well for discharging spent oil, batteries, and lubricants.

– Used oil and lubricants may be chemically re-processed to harness these heavy metals in them

– Environmental education, publicity and awareness of public on spent engine oil spill threats to ground water quality and negative impacts of these should be put in place.

– Curbside collection, though expensive, is a more convenient and effective method of used engine oil collection (US EPA, 1994).

– Re-cycling and the refining of used engine oil should be practiced and because they will cut down the used oil released into the environment by about 30 to 50%

– There should also be appropriate legislation or environmental laws to ensure effectiveness in the disposal method.

– Regeneration of base oil from the spent oil using chemical and physical methods of purification or deep purification.

Abattoir Effluent – Effect On Physiocochemical Properties Of Surface Water


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  1. Igba tersur Timothy says:

    Where are the reference of this text

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