Abstract

Riparian communities in the Amazon suffer from water-borne diseases due to the lack of adequate water treatment capabilities. Therefore, small local water treatment plants are necessary, but the selection of treatment procedures depends largely on the physico-chemical characteristics of the water. The aim of the present research was to evaluate the physico-chemical characteristics of the water in the Amazon River and its tributaries, in order to determine customized processes for water treatment. Data from 54 fluviometric monitoring stations were organized and used to construct distribution maps. The parameters such as pH, electrical conductivity, and the concentration of suspended matter, turbidity and flow rates were evaluated. Results showed that pH was very acidic (4–5) in the northwestern portion of the region while conductivity was quite low in the entire Amazonian region (<140 μS cm−1). Both parameters were strongly influenced by geological settings and sources of organic matter. Suspended matter and turbidity were affected by weathering processes. It was concluded that considering the acidity of the waters, mechanical procedures like filtration or slow settling should be applied to remove suspended matter rather than chemical procedures. For disinfection, instead of chemicals, solar energy should be applied.

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