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September 2009 - Boadu

NCCU CREST Seminar Series

Dr. Fred Boadu

Duke University

Nitrate Contamination in Drinking Water from Farming Activities in
Rural Communities in the Nsawam District, Ghana: Environmental
Geoscience, Education and Civic Engagement.

     The main source of water for drinking and domestic needs for inhabitants (mostly farmers) in
the Nsawam District, Ghana is groundwater. However, these fractured groundwater reservoirs
in this district pose to be vulnerable to nitrate contamination, and have been of growing
environmental and health concern in recent times. Water samples collected from several
groundwater wells in the study area indicate high nitrate concentration levels that significantly
exceed the permissible limits for human consumption set by the World Health Organization
(WHO). Azimuthal resistivity surveys (ARS) were conducted on exposed rocks with mapped
fracture parameters in the vicinity of the seven wells where anisotropic coefficient, real and
imaginary parts of the conductivity were measured. The specific surface area unexposed
subsurface fractures were estimated using the regression model and the fracture porosity was
estimated from the anisotropic coefficient. Fracture parameters, fracture porosity, specific
surface area correlated with nitrate concentration. The results serve to establish the role of
fractures in groundwater contamination by nitrates in the study area.
In the summer of 2008, a group of students from Duke University from different majors
(engineering, chemistry, biology, geology and global health), visited the study area to applying
their knowledge gained in the classroom to address such societal problems with the intent of
making a difference in the world. The students educated the inhabitants on potential health
dangers regarding environmental pollution by direct interaction with locals, chiefs, school
children and political representatives.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Room 1229, Mary Townes Science Building
3:00 pm

For addition information contact: Dr. Gordana Vlahovic (gvlahovic@nccu.edu or 919-530-5172).