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Investigation Of Borehole Water Around Slaughter Houses In Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Of Nigeria


This research was carried out to investigate the contaminant concentration in borehole water around slaughterhouse in Uyo metropolis on the fact that groundwater in the vicinity of slaughterhouse can be contaminated by leachates of slaughterhouse waster water. Water sample were collected at Itam, Iba Oku and the control bore holes of which is located at Nwaniba road about 5km from the slaughterhouses. These samples were subjected to laboratory analysis at Akwa Ibom Water Company central laboratory for different possible contaminants (physical, chemical or Biological) method. The results of test showed that pH ranged from 3.60-5.46, electrical conductivity ranges from 173.3-482µs/cm, turbidity varied from 0.18-1.93 NTU, colour was 5 ILU in all the samples. The temperature valuewere between 21.80C – 22.10c. The concentrations of iron and manganese varied from 0-0.07 mg/l, respectively. Lead, cadmium, zinc, from copper, chromium, aluminum, and selenium were not detected in any of the samples. Bacteriological test also revealed that E. coli was zero in all of the sample. This is an indication that there was no faecal pollution in any of the borehole waters. Total coliform count in all the samples were below permissible limits set by the World Health Organization, WHO and Nigeria standard for drinking Water Quality, NSDWQ, for drinking water. A comparison of the result showed that there was no significant difference between the control sample and the samples taken from the slaughterhouse. It is therefore concluded that the presence of animals at these slaughterhouse has no impact on the quality of the borehole water at these slaughterhouses. Therefore, it is it is recommended that these borehole water are safe for drinking, laundry and other uses.


Itam and Iba Oku slaughterhouses are public facilities available in Uyo like most towns and cities, as the killing of animals to supply meat for human consumption is a common practice in Nigeria. However, the wastes generated as a result of the presence of animals at these slaughterhouses is a major source of groundwater contamination, when they are not properly managed. Especially, when discharged into waterways, spread on the ground surface or heaped on the ground as such practices can introduce enteric pathogens, excess nutrients and trace heavy metals into the soil and subsequently contaminate the groundwater under the slaughterhouses. These wastes often separated into solid, liquid and fats could be highly organic. The solid part of the wastes consist of condensed meat, undigested ingest, bones, hairs, and aborted fetuses. The liquid aspect on the other hand consists of dissolved solids, blood guts contents, urine, and water, while fat waste consists of fat and oil. The quality of ground water sources are affected by the characteristics of the media through which the water passes on its way to the ground water zone of saturation (Adeyemi etal, 2007). The trace metals discharged by slaughterhouse wastes can result in a steady rise in contamination of ground water (Igwilo etal, 2006). There is thus the need to constantly assess the quality of groundwater sources in the vicinity of these slaughterhouses.

The presence of animals at the slaughterhouses results in the generation of wastes. At the slaughterhouses at Itam and Iba Oku, these wastes are heaped on the ground surface. Groundwater under these slaughterhouses can be contaminated by these animal wastes as it infiltrates into the ground.

Drinking water contaminated by animal wastes by the people living within these slaughterhouse environments has serious health and economic implications such as acute renal failure, liver failure, diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, hemolytic anemia, meningitis, urinary tract infections, typhoid, etc.


This research work was motivated by the need to find solution to the above problem.


The aims of this study are:
i. To ascertain the quality of the borehole water at Itam and Iba Oku slaughterhouses.

ii.       To compare the quality, of the borehole water at these slaughterhouses with that of the control to determine if there are significance differences.

iii.       To determine if the presence of animals at Itam and Iba Oku slaughterhouses has any adverse effects on the quality of the groundwater at these slaughterhouses.

iv.      To determine how the water in these slaughterhouses can be treated to meet consumption standards.

v. To recommend a preventive measure against any possible contamination (which is the treatment of abattoir waste frequently and timely before disposal).

vi. Preventing the spread of possible diseases obtainable from the abattoir wastes like cholera, diarrhea, renal failure haemolytic anemia, typhoid, etc.

This study is important first and foremost to those living within these slaughterhouse environments since the presence of animals can cause serious water pollution it will serve as reference to other slaughterhouse to help them in proper treatment of the abattoir wastes properly and early before disposal.

There are many slaughterhouses in Akwa Ibom State, but due to financial constraints, this study is limited to Itam and Iba Oku slaughterhouses only.

Uyo metropolis is the capital of Akwa Ibom State in South Nigeria. It has a land area of 168km2 and a population of 436,606 (NPC, 2006). It is situated between latitude 4059109.77 “N and longitude 7053132.70” E. It sits on an altitude of 6.5m. It records an annual rainfall average of 2384.4mm. Mean annual evaporation is about 4 – 6 mm/day and relative humidity is in the range 60 to 90% and an annual temperature average of 26.9 0C. The area is generally flat and lies within thin beach dunes and large valleys.

There are three functional slaughter houses located in the city at Itam, Ntak Inyang, and Iba Oku.

In Nigeria, nearly every town and neighbourhood is provided with a slaughter house. Edwards et al (1979) observed that slaughterhouses may be situated in urban, rural and nominated industrial sites, and that each has advantages and disadvantages. Sridhar (1988) reported that, a cow brought for slaughtering produces 328.4kg of waste in form of dung, bone, blood, horn and hoof. Also, according to Robert (2005), about 45 per cent of each live beef animal, 53 per cent of each sheep and 34 per cent of each pig consist of non-meat substance and that the disposal of these waste products is a problem that has always dominated the slaughter sector. Tove (1985) reported that the characteristics of slaughter house wastes and effluents vary from day to day depending on the number, types of stock being processed, and the processing method.

Clean water resources used for drinking, and terrestrial ecology, industry and aesthetic values, along with breathableair, rank as the most fundamental and important need of all viable communities. These water resources should remain within specific quality limits, and therefore require stringent and conservative protection measures. Raymond (1977) reported that animal wastes can affect water, land or air qualities if proper practices of management are not adhered to. The same wastes however, can be valuable for crops but can also cause water quality impairment.


These wastes contain organic solids, trace heavy metals, salts, bacteria, viruses1 other microorganisms and sediment. The waste from animals can also be washed into streams if not protected and reduces oxygen in water, thereby endangering aquatic life. Raymond (1977) also reported that improper animal waste disposal can lead to animal diseases being transmitted to humans through contact with animal faeces. Cooper d— (1979) reported that slaughterhouses effluents reaching streams contribute significant levels of nitrogen, phosphorous and biochemical oxygen demand, as well as other nutrients, resulting in stream pollution. Sangodoyin et al (1992) also reported that the ground water quality in vicinity of the abattoir were adversely affected by seepage of abattoir effluent as well as water quality of receiving stream that was located away from the abattoir.

Vodela et al (1997), reported that ground water contamination is one of the most important environmental issues today and that of all the diversity of contaminants affecting water resources, heavy metals receive particular concern considering their strong toxicity even at low concentrations. These metals are Iron, Mercury, Potassium, Arsenic, Molybdenum, Tin, Platinum, Selenium, Zinc, Sodium, Manganese, Cobalt, Copper, Antimony, Chromium, Nickel, Lead, Vanadium, Cadmium, Aluminum, and Magnesium.

According to Es’haghi et al (2011), heavy metals are not metabolisable by the body and are stable and bio accumulative. Excess exposure to heavy metals can result in toxicity. Heavy metals can cause serious health effects with varied symptoms depending on the nature and quantity of the metal ingested, according to Adepoju-Bello Alabi (2005). These types of toxin may also cause the formation biological molecules.

Aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and dementia. Exposure to Arsenic can cause among other illnesses or symptoms, cancer, abdominal pain, hypertension and kidney damage. Bakare-Odunola (2005) observed that lead is a commutative poison and a possible human carcinogen. And according to 1-lammer and Hammer Jr (2004), mercury toxicity results in mental disturbance, impairment of speech, hearing, vision and movement. In addition, lead, and mercury may cause the development of autoimmunity in which a person’s immune system attacks its own cells. This can lead to joint sickness and ailments of kidney, circulatory systems and neurons. At higher concentration, lead and mercury can cause irreversible brain damage. For manganese, WHO (2006) recommended a value of 0.4 mg/i which is still tolerable, while above 0.5 mg/l, manganese will impair portability. It is remarked that at levels exceeding 0.1 mg/I, manganese in water supplies causes an undesirable taste in beverages and stains sanitary ware and laundry. The presence of manganese in drinking-water, like that of iron, may lead to the accumulation of deposits in the distribution system. Even at a concentration of 0.2 mg/i, manganese will often form a coating on pipes, which may slough off as a black precipitate. For iron, it was remarked by Akinbile 2006; Shyama1a et al (2008) that th formation of blue baby syndrome in babies and goiter in adults are the results of consumption of water containing iron above the specified quantity. WHO (2006), also reported that Zinc imparts an undesirable astringent taste to water at a taste threshold concentration of about 4mg/i (as zinc sulfate). Water containing zinc at concentrations in excess of 3—5mg/I may appear opalescent and develop a greasy film on boiling.

Turbidity presents an important aspect of water quality. It is deemed as the cloudiness of a liquid as a result of a particular matter suspended within it. According to Shittu et al(2008), high turbidity is often associated with high level of disease causing microorganism such as bacteria and other parasites.

The presence of total coliform in water supplies can reveal growth and possible biofilm formation or contamination through ingress of foreign material, including soil or plants. NSDWQ (2006) reported that the health effects of presence of total coliform bacteria in water includes urinary track infections, bacteraemia, meningitis, diarrhea (one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality among children), acute renal failure and hemolytic anemia.


The materials used for this study were the samples collected from Itam and Iba Oku slaughterhouses and the control sample taken from a borehole at Nwaniba road.

Three samples were collected in plastic bottles. One from each slaughterhouse and the third sample, the control sample, from a borehole located at Nwaniba road. Before collecting the water sample from the taps, the mouths of the taps were first cleaned with methylated spirit to disinfect them. Then the water was allowed to run for three minutes before the midpoint was collected to avoid collecting rust from the pipe walls. Before collecting the water, the plastic bottles were rinsed three times with the borehole water. The sample containers were filled with the water samples and the lids immediately covered. The samples were taken immediately to Akwa Ibom Water company central laboratory for analysis. The samples were preserved in the refrigerator at 0°C for subsequent analysis.

PH meter model HACH SENSION 3 was used to determine the PH of the samples at the laboratory and the values read off the instrument.

Turbidity was measured using the Hach Sension turbidimeter. The values were read directly from the equipment.

The electrical conductivity of the samples was measured using the 1-lach Sension 5 conductivity meter and value read directly from instrument.

The temperature of the water was measured, using Hach Sension 5 and reading taken directly from the machine.

Portable Spectrophotometer model I [ACT-I DR/2010 was used to determine the concentrations of 1 cad (Pb), Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Cadmium (Cd), Aluminum (Al), Manganese (Mn), chromium(Cr), zinc(Zn),and Selenium(Se) in the samples using the Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometric (AAS) method.

Bacteriological analyses were also carried out using the standard pour plate technique as recommended by NSDWQ to determine the presence of E.Coli and Total coliform. Apparatus used were the Autoclave machine, incubator, conical flask, pipettes, test tubes, cotton wool and splint lamp. Ethanol, nutrient agar and mackonkey agar were also used.


The values of temperatures were 21.1°C and 21.8 0C in samples B and A respectively compared with 21.80C in the control sample. The temperature value obtained here is attributed mainly to the atmospheric and weather conditions of the study area. WHO reported that cool water is generally more palatable than warm water, and temperature will impact on the acceptability of a number of other inorganic constituents and chemical contaminants that may affect taste. High water temperature enhances the growth of microorganisms and may increase taste, odour, colour and corrosion problems.

The turbidity readings of the samples were below the WHO and NSDWQ standards. Samples C A and B had turbidity values of 1.93NTU, 0.18 N, and 0.25 NTU, respectively. The World Health Organization, WHO, (2006) recommended a value of 5 NTU as the maximum, above which disinfection is inevitable. The low values of turbidity in these samples can be attributed to the fact that the total suspended solids in the water samples were very low. This means that this water is not polluted by animals’ wastes.

The analyses show that the borehole water are acidic with pH values of 5.2 and 3.60 for samples A and B, lower than value of 5.46 in the control sample. The low pT-1 value might be due to high levels of free (C02 dissolves in water to form H2C03) which may consequently affect the bacterial counts (Edema et al 2001). Both WHO and NSDWQ stipulated a maximum limit of 6.5-8.5 for drinking water. The samples from the slaughterhouses did not show significant difference in values to indicates that the presence of animals have any impact on the water quality of the slaughterhouses.

The values of conductivity were 482.ts/cm and 173.3ps/cm the control sample had a value of 482ts/cm1is is below the limit set by the WHO (2006) for drinking water which 1000 us/cm.

Colour was 5ILU in all the samples. A maximum of 15ILU is stipulated by NSDWQ. This also shows that the presences of animals at the slaughterhouses have no impact on the water quality of the slaughterhouses.

TABLE 1: Physico-Chemical Characteristics of the Water Samples

C (control) 5 235 1.93 22.1 5.20
A (Iba Oku) 5 482 0.18 21.8 3.60
B (Itam) 5 173.3 0.25 22.1 5.46
WHO Limited 15 1000 5 4 6.5-8.5

The concentrations of heavy metals (iron, lead, selenium, chromium, aluminum, zinc, manganese, cadmium and copper) in the water samples were generally low compared with the WHO standards.

Manganese affects the hardness as well as the taste of the water   Manganese (Mn) was not present in samples A and C, but in sample B the value of 0.01 mgl/1 was recorded. The low concentration of Manganese implies that water from the sampled boreholes has good taste and would not promote the growth of

algae in reservoirs or collection tanks according to Nwankwoala and et al, (2011). Concentrations below 0.01 mg/i are usually acceptable for consumers.

Indications of the presence of Iron includes taste, discoloration, deposits and growth of Iron bacteria.

Iron was 0.07mg/i in sample A and zero in sample B compared to 0.01mg/I in the control sample, indicating that the water were unpolluted by slaughterhouses activities. The WHO (2006) report indicated that a range of values of 1-3 mg/lis permissible for iron metals in water, above which an objectionable and sour taste in mouth is observed. The low concentration of iron means water from these boreholes does not have the potentials of staining laundry or disrupt the human system

The results of the tests carried out on the samples showed that lead was not present in any of the samples. WHO recommends a maximum limit of 0.1mg/l for drinking water.

Chromium is not detected in the samples. This shows that the slaughter house activities have no polluting effect on the borehole water studied. WHO recommends a maximum limit of 0.05mg/l.

Like chromium, cadmium was not detected in any of the water samples analyzed. WHO recommends a maximum limit of 0.01mg/l.

Zinc qualities includes (Astringent taste), opalescence and sand like deposit. Zinc was not present in the samples tested. Drinking water seldom contains zinc at concentrations above 0.1 mg/l. The maximum limit set by WHO for zinc in drinking water is 5.0mg/l.


Indications of the presence of copper include astringent taste, discoloration and corrosion of pipes, fitting andutensils. Copper was not found in any of the samples. The absence of copper in the samples indicates the absences that liberate copper in water. WHO recommends maximum limit of 0.05mg/l of copper at pumping station and 3.0mg/L after 16 hours contact with new pipes.

TABLE 2: Heavy Metal Concentrations in the Sample and their Comparison with WHO Standard

Iron (Fe2+) mg/l 0.01 0.07 ND 0.3
Copper (Cu2+) ND ND ND 1
Cadmium (Cd) mg/l ND ND ND 0.003
Zinc (Zn2+) mg/l ND ND ND 3
Lead (Pb) mg/l ND ND ND 0.01
Chromium (Cr6+) ND ND ND 0.05
Aluminum ND ND ND 0.2
Selenium ND ND ND 0.01
Manganese mg/l BD 0.001 ND 0.4

BD = below detection; ND = Not Detected

E. Coli
The bacteriological characteristics of the samples tested are as reported in Table 3 below. E.Coli was zero in all of the samples. The absence of E.Coli is evidence that there was no faecal contamination of the borehole samples.

Coliform bacteria counts in samples B and C were 60cfu/100ml and 8cfu/100ml respectively, compared with 8cfu/lOOrnl in the control sample. NSDWQ specified a limit of l0cfutl00ml for drinking water. So the water is not polluted by the presence of animals.

TABLE 3: Bacteriological Concentration in the Borehole and their Comparison with WHO and NSDWQ standards

Sample Bacterial Sample Water sample Result NSDWQ WHO Limit Remark
Sample C (control) TCC (cfu/ml) 8 10 Present WL
  E.coli (cfu/100ml) 0 0 0 WL
Sample A (Iba Oku) E.coli (cfu/ml) 6 10 Present WL
  0 0 0 0 WL
Sample B (Itam) TCC(cfu/ml) 8 10 Present WL
  E. coli (cfu/100ml) 0 0 0 WL

WL – Within Limit

The result of the physico-chemical analysis of borehole water of Itam and Iba Oku slaughterhouses in Uyo metropolis showed that the boreholes were not contaminated with abnormal levels of heavy metals, bacterial pathogens, and other parameters, capable of causing health hazards to the consumers of the waters, Of all the parameters investigated, non showed significant variations when compared with the values of the control sample. The result showed all parameters were below the nationally and internationally acceptable limits for drinking water. Therefore, it is concluded that the slaughterhouses activities at Itam and Iba Oku do not affect the boreholes water in their environments.

Though the water quality was generally within recommended standards and is suitable for drinking, laundry and other purposes, it is however under threat if the present habit of dumping untreated abattoir wastes around the slaughterhouses continues. Residents living in abattoir vicinity may in no distant time begin to experience severe consequences of pollutants from abattoir activities located in their environment. In view of the above reasons, the following recommendations are made in order to sustain these water quality standards.

i.        Licensing of slaughterhouses, certification of all Operators as well as training of employees involved in slaughterhouses activities should be made.

ii.       Public awareness and enlightenment campaigns should be carried out by relevant agencies on possible impact of pollution from abattoir wastes

iii.       Public participation should be included in the development of policies for abattoir management.

iv.     Immediate steps should be taken to put in place machinery that will enable continuous treatment of the abattoir wastes regularly and on-time before they are disposed.

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Colour 5 5 5 15 15
Temperature (0C) 22.1 21.8 22.1 4 15
Ph 5.20 3.6 5.46 6.5-8.5 6.5-8.5
Turbidity (NTU) 1.93 0.18 0.25 5 5
Conductivity 234 482 173.3 1000 1000
Iron 0.01 0.07 0.00 0.3 0.3
Manganese 0.001 (BD) 0.001 0.00 0.4 0.4
Chromium 0.00 0.00 0.05 0.05 0.05
Cadmium 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.003 0.03
Copper 0.00 0.00 0.00 1 1.0
Lead 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.01
Zinc 0.00 0.00 0.00 3 3
Selenium 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.01


Sample C (Control) TCC (Cfu/ml) 8 WL
  E. coli (cfu/100ml) 0 WL
Sample A (Iba Oku) E. coli (cfu/100ml) 6 WL
Sample B TCC (cfu/ml) 8 WL
  E. Coli (cfu/100ml) 0 WL

WL – Within Limit; NA – Nutrient Agar

We at are thankful to Dr. Enoh C. Ukpong and Abaraogu, Udechukwu John for submitting this to us.

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