Uranium in 83 percent of water samples, says BARC study
NEW DELHI: Uranium was detected in 83.6 percent of all the collected water samples during a nationwide survey by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for mapping of uranium content in drinking water sources across India. About 55,554 surface and groundwater samples were collected for the survey.
“Out of 12 water quality parameters measured to understand the geochemical processes governing uranium content in water sources, eight were found to exceed the acceptable limits set by the BIS for drinking water,” said the study published in Current Science.
Sulphate, chloride, nitrate, fluoride, total dissolved solids, alkalinity, and hardness exceeded their limits by 4.2 percent, 12.9 percent, 14 percent, 20.5 percent, 34.3 percent, 45 percent, and 51.6 percent, respectively. Uranium content in 98 percent of groundwater samples was within the national limit fixed by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for radiological safety.
“Dissolved uranium content in groundwater samples showed an upward trend with total dissolved solids and depth of water sources. No surface water samples exceeded the prescribed regulatory limit.” The study further found that about 36 percent, 30 percent, 26.5 percent, 6.2 percent and 5.2 percent of surface water samples exceeded the BIS recommended acceptable limits for hardness, alkalinity, TDS, fluoride and nitrate.
In contrast, 51.6 per cent, 45 per cent, 36.3 per cent, 20.5 per cent and 14 per cent of groundwater samples exceeded the BIS recommended acceptable limits for the same parameters. “About 2 per cent of groundwater samples exceeded the AERB prescribed limits for uranium with respect to radiological safety, while no surface water samples exceeded the limit,” it added.