442576 Quality and Potable Analysis on Waterbodies in Barranquilla, Colombia

Monday, November 9, 2015
Exhibit Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Karina Gómez, Atlántico, Universidad del Atlántico, Barranquilla, Colombia

Quality and potable analysis on waterbodies in Barranquilla, Colombia

“The safety and accessibility of drinking-water are major concerns throughout the world. Health risks may arise from consumption of water contaminated with infectious agents, toxic chemicals, and radiological hazards. Improving access to safe drinking-water can result in tangible improvements to health” (World’s Health Organization)

Because of the health issues in many communities and populations of the Colombian territory, the government has taken charge about creating regulations through resolutions that moderate the characteristics of the water, in search of assuring that it’s potable water.  In the same way, knowing the importance of analysis and treatments made to waterbodies, in order to evaluate its quality and portability, has been necessary to measure some water properties like, total hardness, alkalinity and chlorides concentration. This regulation, is ruled by 1575th decree, 2115th resolution (June 22nd, 2007- Ministers of Social protection and environment, dwelling and territorial development) which assign a maximum acceptable for the properties mentioned previously.

The potable water, also known as “drinking water” or “safe water”, it’s defined as water suitable for drinking, also that doesn’t represent any risk for health and satisfy the standards set by the local and international authorities. Nowadays, studies estimated 1.400 million km3 of water and only 3% of those it’s fresh water. Ground water may contain high levels of chemical compounds, for that reason, it must be treated to make it properly for consumption by the population.   

The presence of different kinds of chemical compounds and microorganisms represent a risk for health. Depends on the origin source that water came from, may contain chemical and biological substances, also beings living suspended, that react with chemical and physical elements.

Alkalinity is a measure of the capacity of water to neutralize acids. Alkaline compounds in the water such as bicarbonates (they are easily formed by the action of atmospheric dioxide carbon on the constituent materials of the soils in presence of water), carbonates, and hydroxides remove H+ ions and lower the acidity of the water.

Total alkalinity is affected by environmental factors like, rain; acidic sanitizers, addition of fill water and other product applications can all change the alkalinity over time. Most alkalinity in surface water comes from calcium carbonate (CaCO3) being leached from rocks and soil. This process is enhanced if the rocks and soil have been broken up for any reason, such as mining or urban development. Limestone contains especially high levels of calcium carbonate and when used to decrease acidity in homes can runoff into surface waters and increase alkalinity. Alkalinity is significant in the treatment of wastewater and drinking water because it will influence treatment processes such as anaerobic digestion. Water may also be unsuitable for use in irrigation if the alkalinity level in the water is higher than the natural level of alkalinity in the soil. The maximum value acceptable is 200 mg/L.

At the same time, it's also considered a relevant parameter in water quality, the concentration of mineral compounds, specifically salts like Mg and Ca. Hard water is high dissolved minerals, mentioned before. The presence of those salts dependes primarily on geological formations traversed by water before to its acquisition. Groundwater that cross aquifers carbonates (limestone) are those with higher hardness and are composed of calcium and magnesium carbonates. Most drinking water supplies have an averagle of 250 mg/L and hardness levels above 500 mg/L are not suitable for domestic use. 

Natural waters also have highly variable contents of chlorides, depending on the characteristics of the land crossing, but this value is always lower than the value found in wastewater. The high concentration of chlorides in water may have different origins. If it is a coastal area may be due to water infiltration of the seawater. In the case of an arid area the increased concentration of chlorides in water is due to the washing floors produced by heavy rains. Although also may consider increasing contents of chlorides may be due to pollution by wastewater. The maximum acceptable value of chlorides in water is 250 mg/L.

The project presented below is an analysis of a sample of water from the Barrio del Valle, located in the south west of Barranquilla; this water is collected and stored in polyethylene tanks, swimming pools, among others, for its daily use. The water was gathered by two families, taking in account their different customs and ways of recollection, storing and consumption, and also many environmental factors that might affect the characteristics of sample. For each group, were taken two liters of water, those were stored in polyethylene bottles (previously washed with water purge to analyze), and sealed until its further analysis in order to avoid direct contact with air, and avoiding the loss or gain of CO2, or other gases.

Therefore, to assure if this water was reliable for consumption, three volumetric analysis in the laboratory for water samples were developed: determination of total alkalinity, based on neutralization reactions volumetry. Also, water hardness (Ca2+ and Mg2+) was determined by the complex reactions volumetry. Finally, chloride contents determination was made by formation of precipitates reactions using the Mhor method. Statistical studies were made to the results obtained, in order to assure that the data were precise, and those results were compared with the maximum acceptable values set by regulations

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