Groundwater contamination due to the leaching of harmful pollutants such as heavy metals, xenobiotic compounds, and other inorganic compounds from solid waste dumping sites has become a major health concern in recent times. Therefore, to assess the effects of the Bandhwari landfill site, groundwater samples from the surrounding region of the dumping site were collected and analyzed for heavy metals and physicochemical properties. The total dissolved solids (TDS) of 67% of samples exceeded the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) permissible limits which makes it unfit for drinking purposes. The groundwater samples were also analyzed for iron (Fe), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), and chromium (Cr) concentrations and results of heavy metal concentration in the groundwater around the Bandhwari landfill follow the concentration trend of Pb > Cd > Ni > Cu > Zn > Fe > Cr. Risk assessment of consumers' health was done using target hazard quotient calculations which were less than unity (threshold value of <1), indicating that heavy metal concentrations do not pose any serious health effect according to total hazard quotient values. The results of the study made it evident that groundwater is not suitable for drinking purposes due to excess values of water quality parameters but poses no risk due to studied metal concentrations.

  • Landfill sites are becoming a problem instead of a solution.

  • The Bandhwari landfill site is close to the Aravalli forest area.

  • The Bandhwari landfill site leads to groundwater contamination in nearby areas.

  • Most of the physicochemical parameters exceed the permissible limit.

  • Residents of the nearby area of the Bhandwari landfill site were not at risk due to the heavy metals concentration in groundwater.

Water is the most valuable resource on the planet and is regarded as an essential requirement for life and the country's economic progress (Malik et al. 2024). The health of the population of an area is significantly determined by the quality of water. Groundwater is the most crucial water source for any nation and has a critical role in the community's health especially in countries like India, where groundwater supplies 90% of the country's water demands (Khyalia et al. 2023). India's 60% demand for agriculture is fulfilled by groundwater (Bhattarai et al. 2021). Despite the significant reliance on subsurface water supplies, groundwater contamination has resulted from a variety of sources, viz. irrigation water percolation, septic tank spillages, industrial effluent disposal, and toxic chemical leaching from dumpsites, all of which have degraded the quality of groundwater resources and rendered them unfit for use (Sarvajayakesavalu et al. 2018; Przydatek & Kanownik 2019; Siwila & Buumba 2021). India with its 1.39 billion people is the second most populated country in the world, preceding China (1.44 billion), and with the current rate of population growth, India has been predicted to have more than 1.53 billion people by the end of 2030 (Omolola et al. 2023). Rapid growth in urbanization, industrialization, and economic development coupled with an ever-increasing population and a changing lifestyle has resulted in the amplified generation of municipal solid waste. Currently, the disposal and management of municipal solid waste are one of the major environmental concerns faced by both developed and developing countries. The most common methods of waste disposal in India are open dumping and landfills because they do not require skilled workers and sophisticated technology (Narayana 2009). Though landfills provide a quick and easy solution, according to Lee & Jones (1993), the disposal of municipal solid waste by landfilling has proven to be one of the main culprits behind groundwater pollution as the waste in landfills undergoes various chemical, physical, and biochemical reactions and generates leachate as a by-product. Various studies have been conducted at different landfill sites to understand their role in groundwater contamination (Acharya et al. 2018; Abiriga et al. 2020; Amano et al. 2021; Podlasek et al. 2021).

The area near the landfill site is usually more vulnerable to groundwater pollution (Singh et al. 2008; Njoku et al. 2019). The leachate produced by landfills is composed of concentrated complex effluents containing waste products such as humic acids, NH3, Ca, Fe, Na, Mg, K, , Cl with heavy metals, viz. Cd, Cu, Pb, Cr, Zn, and anthropogenic xenobiotic compounds (Kjeldsen et al. 2002; Boateng et al. 2019). These pollutants have detrimental impacts on aquatic life, the ecology, and the food chain, leading to various health problems like carcinogenic effects, acute toxicity, and genotoxicity (Gajski et al. 2011). Therefore, the improper and unscientific disposal of this municipal solid waste has an adverse impact on all the components of the environment (Sharma et al. 2018). The study documented here was carried out to measure the impact of the Bandhwari landfill on the groundwater quality of surrounding areas. Groundwater quality in the landfill region was checked for several physicochemical parameters of collected samples, with a concentration of selected heavy metals including Fe, Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni, and Cr. The health risk from consumption of the studied groundwater samples was also calculated to develop clarity about the risk from groundwater use.

Study area

The Bandhwari landfill site is one of the largest landfill sites in Northern India and it is situated in Bandhwari village of Gurugram on Gurugram-Faridabad National Highway-48. Bandhwari village has a population of 3,624 people living in around 557 households. Bandhwari landfill site is an open dumping site which was established in 2009 and since then, the site has been accommodating waste from Gurugram and Faridabad. This landfill is 37.2 m high and is spread across an area of nearly 30 acres on the Faridabad-Gurugram road. According to a report submitted by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the landfill receives around 1,800 tonnes of fresh municipal waste every day (TOI 2021). As per NGT's latest order, the quantity of untreated waste at the landfill has increased to 40 lakh tonnes now. The landfill was built on an old mining pit with a depth of 250 feet in the proximity of groundwater aquifers and the site is also very close to the last remaining area of the Aravalli forest, a sacred groove for the natives. So, landfill is extremely harmful to biodiversity and human health as it is not only causing a substantial amount of pollution but also disturbing the ecologically vulnerable Aravalli range.

Sampling and water quality analysis

To study the contamination of the aquifer, groundwater samples were collected during March, 2021 from the nearby areas of the landfill site. Global Positioning System (GPS), i.e., Garmin GPS-etrex-10 was used to identify coordinates of accurate sampling locations (Table 1 and Figures 1 and 2). The groundwater samples were collected in triplicate from 18 different sampling sites. Pre-treated polyethylene bottles (soaked with 10% HNO3 acid overnight and rinsed with distilled water multiple times to remove the impurities clinging to the interior wall of the bottle) were used for the collection of groundwater samples. The bottles were properly labelled with information such as sample code, date of sampling and the details of sampling locations. The samples for heavy metal analysis were preserved by acidifying them with concentrated nitric acid (1.5 ml of conc. HNO3/L sample) in the glass bottles. The water sources (tube well, hand pump and submersible) were run initially for 2–3 min and bottles were cleaned well to reduce the chances of error during sample collection.
Table 1

Locations of the sampling sites

Sampling sitesLatitudeLongitude
28 °24′1777°10′27
28°24′1677°10′27
28°24′1677°10′29
28°24′2577°11′32
28°25′1777°11′25
28°25′0277°11′32
28°23′3877°11′09
28°23′3677°11′08
28°24′3477°10′09
10 28°24′4177°09′22
11 28°25′3177°08′45
12 28°22′55″N 77°10′36″E 
13 28°22′51″N 77°10′11″E 
14 28°23′37″N 77° 09′8″E 
15 28°23′14″N 77° 09′27″E 
16 28°24′11″N 77° 09′18″E 
17 28°25′34 ′N 77°10′8″E 
18 28°25′32″N 77°10′32″E 
Sampling sitesLatitudeLongitude
28 °24′1777°10′27
28°24′1677°10′27
28°24′1677°10′29
28°24′2577°11′32
28°25′1777°11′25
28°25′0277°11′32
28°23′3877°11′09
28°23′3677°11′08
28°24′3477°10′09
10 28°24′4177°09′22
11 28°25′3177°08′45
12 28°22′55″N 77°10′36″E 
13 28°22′51″N 77°10′11″E 
14 28°23′37″N 77° 09′8″E 
15 28°23′14″N 77° 09′27″E 
16 28°24′11″N 77° 09′18″E 
17 28°25′34 ′N 77°10′8″E 
18 28°25′32″N 77°10′32″E 
Figure 1

Bandhwari landfill site.

Figure 1

Bandhwari landfill site.

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Figure 2

Location map of sampling sites.

Figure 2

Location map of sampling sites.

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The analysis and measurement of physicochemical parameters along with heavy metals in collected groundwater samples were carried out as per the standard methods described using standard methodology (APHA 2017).

The pH with electrical conductivity (EC) was assessed in situ, using a digital pH meter (HM Digital, pH-200) and a digital EC meter (HM Digital, aquapro), respectively. Total dissolved solids (TDS) content was measured using the gravimetric method, and total alkalinity (TA) was analyzed using acid–base titrimetric methods (APHA 2017). Total hardness (TH), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), and chloride (Cl) were also analyzed by the titrimetric method. Alkali metals such as sodium and potassium contents were analyzed using a Digital Flame Photometer (Esico, Model-381). A UV-visible spectrophotometer was used to determine sulphate (APHA 2017). Heavy metals like lead, iron, nickel, copper, and zinc were estimated by using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Shimadzu, AA-6880).

Health risk assessment

A hazard quotient is a process of evaluating the adverse health effects of human exposure to environmental hazards. In the present study, it was done by calculating the target hazard quotient using the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) methodology. The total hazard quotient (THQ) is the ratio of exposure to toxic elements to the reference dose prescribed, which is the maximum concentration at which no adverse health effects are expected (Johann et al. 2017). The value of THQ was calculated using methodology prescribed by USEPA (2012) and Singh & Garg (2022).

THQ = Concentration of exposure/Concentration prescribed as reference

Concentration of exposure =EFr × ED × WI × MCW × 0.001

Concentration prescribed as reference (RfC) = RfDo × BW × AT
formula
where EFr is the frequency of exposure (365 days/year), ED is the duration of exposure (65 years), WI is the water ingestion rate in litres per day (4.05 L/day), Cm is the metal concentration in water, RfDo means oral reference metal dose in mg/kg/day which are 9 × 10−3, 4 × 10−3, 4 × 10−2, 2 × 10−2, 4 × 10−2, 3 × 10−3 and 9 × 10−3 for Fe, Pb, Zn, Ni, Cu, Cr and Cd, respectively. BW is the average body weight, i.e., 56 kg for the Indian adult (Shukla et al. 2002) and AT is the average exposure time (365 days 65years).

The THQ is basically the evaluation of the non-carcinogenic health risk presented by exposure to a particular toxic element. If THQ is less than 1, then non-carcinogenic health effects are not seen. However, if THQ is more than 1, it indicates the possibility of adverse non-carcinogenic health effects (Akande et al. 2019).

A comprehensive investigation of groundwater quality was done for 18 groundwater sampling locations from the surroundings of the landfill area to evaluate the degree of contamination caused by downward infiltration and horizontal migration of leachate from the landfill site.

Physicochemical analysis

The pH of the groundwater samples was from 6.7 to 7.7, which demonstrates that the groundwater is slightly acidic to alkaline in nature and for all the samples were within the permissible limit prescribed by Bureau of India Standards (BIS 2012), i.e., 6.5–8.5. The EC of the groundwater samples ranged from 1.15 to 6.69 mS/cm, which is beyond the BIS permissible limit of 2.5 mS/cm. EC was reported at its maximum at sampling site S1, followed by site S2, which were proximal to the Bandhwari landfill site. This could be due to the percolation of salts and minerals into the groundwater from the leachate. Similar results were reported by Kuriakose et al. (2016), who reported a high value of EC (>2.6 mS/cm) in groundwater samples collected from the vicinity of the Okhla landfill site, Delhi. According to WHO (2008), TDS is generally used to determine the salinity and overall quality of water. The concentration of TDS in all the samples ranged from 231 to 2,240 mg/L and the highest concentration of TDS was found at site no. 18. The TDS of around 67% of the samples exceeded the BIS permissible limit of 500 mg/L. Furthermore, the high TDS content in groundwater which is present around the landfill site renders it unsafe for drinking and may induce gastrointestinal irritation (Kuriakose et al. 2016). The TA was reported to occur between 216 and 852 mg/L. The highest alkalinity values were reported at sampling site S2 and the lowest was at S10. All the assessed groundwater samples were found to have values exceeding the BIS permissible limits of 200 mg/L. The results of the present study were supported by the study conducted by Alam et al. (2020), who reported a very high range of alkalinity (2,123–3,256 mg/L) in the groundwater samples collected from the vicinity of the Ghazipur landfill site, Delhi. The degree of hardness in water depends on the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions (Tanwer et al. 2023a). The TH values ranged between 168 and 1,220 mg/L, with the highest being at S1 and the lowest at S4. Almost all the samples were very hard and exceeded the BIS permissible limit, i.e., 200 mg/L. The Ca2+ values were in the range of 46.49–184.36 mg/L with an average of 99.47 mg/L; more than 50% of the samples were found to exhibit calcium values exceeding the BIS permissible limit of 75 mg/L. Excess Ca2+ in the body creates health issues in the body such as kidney stones or calculi, as well as inflammation in the urinary tract. Calcium may enter groundwater aquifers via limestone, marble, calcite, and gypsum (Bozdağ 2016). Magnesium is the second-most abundant cation in the cells (Fawcett et al. 1999). The minimum concentration of Mg2+ found in groundwater samples was 10.65 mg/L whereas the maximum concentration was 252.6 mg/L, with a mean value of 59.52 mg/L. 15 out of 18 groundwater samples were found to exhibit Mg2+ values exceeding the BIS permissible limit (30 mg/L) of drinking water standards. Excessive intake of Mg2+ salts may cause diarrhoea also (Sengupta 2013). Similarly, a high value of Mg concentration (329.3–369.26 mg/L) in the leachate from Bhalswa landfill was also reported by Ahamad et al. (2019). The sodium salt is found in almost every food item and drinking water and, as per the BIS acceptable limit, the sodium content should not exceed 200 mg/L. In the present study, all the groundwater samples were lower than the highest permissible limit of Na as they ranged between 19 and 162 mg/L; all the samples showed acceptable conditions. The amount of K in the groundwater samples varied from 1.5 to 9.2 mg/L, with an average of 3.8 mg/L. So, all the groundwater samples were within the acceptable range regarding K content. Along with geological composition, Cl concentration in groundwater is influenced by anthropogenic activities consisting of improper management of septic tanks, sewage disposal, and animal waste (Tanwer et al. 2023b). Its concentration in the groundwater samples ranged from 34 to 474 mg/L (an average of 116.09 mg/L). Cl in all the samples, except from site S1 (474 mg/L), which was adjacent to the landfill, were below the BIS desirable limit, i.e., 250 mg/L. Sudha et al. (2021) studied the hydro-chemical characterization of groundwater quality near the municipal solid waste dumping site at Vellalore in Coimbatore and found that a Cl plume (854 mg/L) was affecting the water resources. Rocks, fertilizers, and the burning of fossil fuels are the main sources of groundwater. It can be found in almost all natural waters. A higher level of present in drinking water can have laxative effects if present alongside Ca2+ and Mg2+ (Tanwer et al. 2023b). In the present study, the concentration in almost all the groundwater samples except for S11 (273 mg/L) was significantly lower than the BIS (2012) permissible limit of 200 mg/L.

The results of the samples analyzed for the site under study revealed that the samples closest to the landfill site are the most affected by the leachate produced by the landfill. Other affected samples located far from the landfill site could be the result of an unlined wastewater drain, quaternary aquifer over-extraction or other anthropogenic influences in the research area. Table 2 shows the detailed measured values of various physicochemical parameters of chosen groundwater samples as well as their comparison with BIS (2012), EU (2020) and WHO (2017) permissible criteria.

Table 2

Physicochemical analysis of groundwater samples from the Bandhwari landfill site area

S.No.pHEC (ms)/cmTDS (mg/L)TH (mg/L)TA (mg/L)Ca2+ (mg/L)Mg2+ (mg/L)Na+ (mg/L)K+ (mg/L) (mg/L)Cl (mg/L)
7.1 6.59 1,318 1,200 532 65.73 252.6 112 5.1 79.3 474 
6.8 6.38 1,276 800 852 184.36 82.7 162 9.2 18.6 125 
7.6 5.25 1,050 332 564 83.36 30.14 141 8.4 273 202 
7.2 1.53 307 168 324 48.09 11.65 47 2.6 18.6 46 
7.1 3.7 740 324 576 78.55 31.12 77 2.4 15.3 98 
7.4 2.15 1,430 296 452 62.52 34.07 61 1.8 28.3 56 
1.56 313 196 256 60.92 10.65 28 2.3 74.1 36 
7.7 1.39 280 208 300 54.5 39.93 29 2.0 37.6 52 
7.5 2.44 488 320 508 46.49 49.7 62 3.2 16.3 102 
10 6.9 1.15 231 244 216 51.3 28.23 19 1.5 35.2 34 
11 7.6 1.91 382 224 588 81.76 41.78 41 2.7 26.3 52 
12 7.5 2.62 1,120 980 352 144.12 67.96 46 3.2 25.6 45 
13 7.3 2.14 1,436 1,046 456 153.82 72.54 58 4.6 48.7 49 
14 6.7 3.4 1,640 1,220 321 179.41 84.60 24 2.1 56.4 56 
15 7.1 1.98 968 456 364 67.06 31.62 38 1.8 19.8 46 
16 7.3 2.35 1,376 780 412 114.71 54.09 98 4.6 28.6 84 
17 4.18 1,630 964 256 141.76 66.85 74 7.1 45.3 74 
18 7.4 5.7 2,240 1,170 532 172.06 81.14 80 3.2 47.5 62 
IS-10500 (BIS 2012 ) 6.5–8.5 2,250 at 25 °C 500 200 (600)a 200 (as CaCO375 30 – – 200 250 
WHO (2017)  6.5–8.5 – 600 300 (500)a – 75–200 – 200 – 250 200–300 
EU (2020)  6.5–8.5 (up to 9.5) 2,500 at 20 °C 500 150–500a – 100 – 200 – 250 250 
S.No.pHEC (ms)/cmTDS (mg/L)TH (mg/L)TA (mg/L)Ca2+ (mg/L)Mg2+ (mg/L)Na+ (mg/L)K+ (mg/L) (mg/L)Cl (mg/L)
7.1 6.59 1,318 1,200 532 65.73 252.6 112 5.1 79.3 474 
6.8 6.38 1,276 800 852 184.36 82.7 162 9.2 18.6 125 
7.6 5.25 1,050 332 564 83.36 30.14 141 8.4 273 202 
7.2 1.53 307 168 324 48.09 11.65 47 2.6 18.6 46 
7.1 3.7 740 324 576 78.55 31.12 77 2.4 15.3 98 
7.4 2.15 1,430 296 452 62.52 34.07 61 1.8 28.3 56 
1.56 313 196 256 60.92 10.65 28 2.3 74.1 36 
7.7 1.39 280 208 300 54.5 39.93 29 2.0 37.6 52 
7.5 2.44 488 320 508 46.49 49.7 62 3.2 16.3 102 
10 6.9 1.15 231 244 216 51.3 28.23 19 1.5 35.2 34 
11 7.6 1.91 382 224 588 81.76 41.78 41 2.7 26.3 52 
12 7.5 2.62 1,120 980 352 144.12 67.96 46 3.2 25.6 45 
13 7.3 2.14 1,436 1,046 456 153.82 72.54 58 4.6 48.7 49 
14 6.7 3.4 1,640 1,220 321 179.41 84.60 24 2.1 56.4 56 
15 7.1 1.98 968 456 364 67.06 31.62 38 1.8 19.8 46 
16 7.3 2.35 1,376 780 412 114.71 54.09 98 4.6 28.6 84 
17 4.18 1,630 964 256 141.76 66.85 74 7.1 45.3 74 
18 7.4 5.7 2,240 1,170 532 172.06 81.14 80 3.2 47.5 62 
IS-10500 (BIS 2012 ) 6.5–8.5 2,250 at 25 °C 500 200 (600)a 200 (as CaCO375 30 – – 200 250 
WHO (2017)  6.5–8.5 – 600 300 (500)a – 75–200 – 200 – 250 200–300 
EU (2020)  6.5–8.5 (up to 9.5) 2,500 at 20 °C 500 150–500a – 100 – 200 – 250 250 

aIn the absence of a substitute source.

Heavy metal analysis

The results of heavy metal concentration in the groundwater around the Bandhwari landfill follow the trend of Pb > Cd > Ni > Cu > Zn > Fe > Cr. The details of the concentrations of metals analyzed are given in Table 3 and distribution in the form of box-plots is given in Figure 3. A box-plot is a diverse family of statistical techniques called exploratory data analysis, used to visually identify patterns and compare the data (Khyalia et al. 2022). Box-plots in Figure 3 show the distribution of different metals within the samples analyzed. None of the metals showed a normal distribution and each metal has some outlier concentration value. Lead was the most abundant metal found in the groundwater samples, with the highest concentration of 3.55 mg/L (at site S7). The disposal of lead-based paints, pipes, and batteries may be the main reason for the high lead content in the groundwater around the landfill (Boateng et al. 2019). The concentration of Cd was in the range of 0.52–1.45 mg/L with a mean value of 1.03 mg/L, which is above the BIS permissible limit of 0.003 mg/L. High levels of Pb and Cd are a cause of great concern as these heavy metals have been recognized as toxic metals for drinking and household use (WHO 2008). The concentration of Ni and Cu in each studied groundwater sample exceeded the BIS permissible limit of 0.02 and 0.05 mg/L, respectively. The highest concentration of Cu (3.22 mg/L) was observed at sampling site S7; excessive Cu concentration in drinking water can induce renal damage, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and death (Mathew & Krishnamurthy 2015). The Zn concentration of all the samples was reported to be within the standard permissible limit of 5 mg/L. The BIS permissible limit for Fe is 0.3 mg/L. However, in the present study, it was found in the range of 0.25–0.87 mg/L in phreatic water samples; 89% of samples exceeded the standard permissible limit. The heavy metal concentration in the existing study is more in comparison to the landfill impact observations in Lagos metropolis, southwest Nigeria (Aboyeji & Eigbokhan 2016). The presence of the above heavy metals in detectable concentrations in groundwater is a sign of toxicity posing a serious environmental risk to soil, animals, and even humans (Ismanto et al. 2023). Despite the high concentration of analyzed metals, the groundwater is rarely affected by the presence of chromium, which was found below the instrumental detection limit in 78% of the samples. Kumari et al. (2018) detected a very small concentration of Cr in groundwater in the vicinity of the Ghazipur landfill site in Delhi, similar to the current study. This could be because the greater adsorption of Cr6+ to a zone of waste material that is unsaturated with water or soil results in only a small amount that can solubilize in water and penetrate deeper into the soil (Alam et al. 2012).
Table 3

Heavy metal concentration in groundwater samples

S. No.Fe (mg/L)Pb (mg/L)Zn (mg/L)Ni (mg/L)Cu (mg/L)Cr (mg/L)Cd (mg/L)
0.36 1.65 0.08 0.72 0.64 1.05 
0.5 1.19 0.17 0.76 0.54 1.07 
0.35 0.96 0.19 0.63 0.48 1.05 
0.33 1.44 0.0007 0.64 0.64 1.06 
0.33 0.92 0.21 0.64 0.48 1.06 
0.36 0.95 0.05 0.63 0.49 1.06 
0.38 3.55 4.18 2.41 3.22 0.95 
0.35 2.55 1.4 0.77 1.66 0.26 0.98 
0.27 0.94 1.02 0.62 0.48 0.2 1.07 
10 0.41 1.28 0.01 0.65 0.67 1.06 
11 0.37 1.03 0.19 0.61 0.49 0.21 0.56 
12 0.36 0.26 0.28 0.54 0.74 1.05 
13 0.25 0.58 0.56 0.23 0.58 0.98 
14 0.49 0.84 0.78 0.48 0.26 0.87 
15 0.87 1.08 0.45 0.51 0.23 0.25 0.52 
16 0.86 1.24 0.13 1.25 0.21 1.45 
17 0.58 0.89 1.04 0.75 0.74 1.27 
18 0.74 0.92 0.87 0.63 0.36 1.39 
IS-10500 (BIS 2012 ) 0.3 0.003 0.02 0.05 0.05 0.003 
S. No.Fe (mg/L)Pb (mg/L)Zn (mg/L)Ni (mg/L)Cu (mg/L)Cr (mg/L)Cd (mg/L)
0.36 1.65 0.08 0.72 0.64 1.05 
0.5 1.19 0.17 0.76 0.54 1.07 
0.35 0.96 0.19 0.63 0.48 1.05 
0.33 1.44 0.0007 0.64 0.64 1.06 
0.33 0.92 0.21 0.64 0.48 1.06 
0.36 0.95 0.05 0.63 0.49 1.06 
0.38 3.55 4.18 2.41 3.22 0.95 
0.35 2.55 1.4 0.77 1.66 0.26 0.98 
0.27 0.94 1.02 0.62 0.48 0.2 1.07 
10 0.41 1.28 0.01 0.65 0.67 1.06 
11 0.37 1.03 0.19 0.61 0.49 0.21 0.56 
12 0.36 0.26 0.28 0.54 0.74 1.05 
13 0.25 0.58 0.56 0.23 0.58 0.98 
14 0.49 0.84 0.78 0.48 0.26 0.87 
15 0.87 1.08 0.45 0.51 0.23 0.25 0.52 
16 0.86 1.24 0.13 1.25 0.21 1.45 
17 0.58 0.89 1.04 0.75 0.74 1.27 
18 0.74 0.92 0.87 0.63 0.36 1.39 
IS-10500 (BIS 2012 ) 0.3 0.003 0.02 0.05 0.05 0.003 
Figure 3

Box-plots depicting the distribution of the analyzed heavy metals.

Figure 3

Box-plots depicting the distribution of the analyzed heavy metals.

Close modal

The correlation among the metals analyzed was also studied using IBM SPSS Statistics 22 and significant positive correlations were observed between Pb and Zn (r = 0.758, p ≤ 0.01), Pb and Ni (r = 0.814, p ≤ 0.01), Pb and Cu (r = 0.872, p ≤ 0.01), Zn and Ni (r = 0.798, p ≤ 0.01), Ni and Cu (r = 0.813, p ≤ 0.01) and Zn with Cu (r = 0.891, p ≤ 0.01); while a significant negative correlation was found between Cr and Cd (r = −0.594, p ≤ 0.01). It shows that Pb coexisted in water with Zn, Ni and Cu while Zn also exhibited coexistence with Ni and Cu (Supplementary material, Table S1). Further studies with controlled natural attenuation processes have been recommended by various authors for the coexistence and migration of these metals in groundwater. The major reasons provided in the literature are pH, dissolution and solubility of metals in groundwater (Xu et al. 2015; Shrestha et al. 2016; Mahapatra & Nimmy 2021).

Health risk from metal consumption through groundwater

Human health risk from consumption of the studied groundwater samples was calculated using THQ, a methodology developed by USEPA (USEPA 2012). The calculated THQ values were found to be in the order of Cd > Pb > Fe > Ni > Cu > Zn > Cr with respective values as 6.9E-02, 2.1E-02, 3.4E-03, 2.5E-03, 1.2E-03, 1.5E-04, and 2.3E-06. The values for THQ depicted a somewhat consistent distribution trend for all heavy metals in Figure 4. Apart from Pb and Cd, the values for THQ were observed in a very low magnitude in an order of 10−3 to 10−6. None of the THQ values were found to be equal to or higher than unity which indicated that these values are not a risk to the people consuming the water. The details of the THQ values observed are encapsulated in Supplementary material (Table S2) and Figure 4.
Figure 4

Total hazard quotient for different heavy metals.

Figure 4

Total hazard quotient for different heavy metals.

Close modal

The major pathways which can introduce metals into the human body are ingestion through food and water, inhalation (through smoke, fumes or dust), radiation exposure and dermal contact with metals (Duhan et al. 2022; Sharma et al. 2023; Tanwer et al. 2023c). Different metals can cause different types of risks to the human body including neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, hepatotoxicity etc. (USEPA 2005; Tanwer et al. 2022; Duhan et al. 2023). Various studies have been conducted globally to estimate heavy metals in groundwater (Kana 2022; Mawari et al. 2022; Ullah et al. 2022). Tong et al. (2021) also studied and reported THQ values for As, Co, Cd, Fe, Pb, Ni, Zn and Cu in groundwater from different areas of China and documented it to be safe except for arsenic content. Negligible health risk from consumption of Zn, As and Fe in groundwater was reported by Anim-Gyampo et al. (2019) from the Atankwidi basin of Ghana due to their very low concentration while it was reported to pose a significant risk from greater concentration of Pb in the same water. Maigari et al. (2016) documented significant risk for children and adults due to ingestion of Fe, Ni, Mn, and Co via drinking groundwater. There have been some other studies including Vetrimurugan et al. (2017) from the Cauvery river basin, Tamil Nadu, India in context to Mn, Pb, Ag, Cd and Ni; Islam et al. (2017) reporting arsenic risk from groundwater consumption in Chapai-Nawabganj district, Bangladesh; Hossain et al. (2020) documenting the risk from various metals present in groundwater from Dinajpur, Bangladesh. In comparison to these referenced studies, the values of THQ in the presented study imply that the region of Bandhwari landfill site is not a risk in consideration with Cd, Pb, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Cr content in the groundwater.

Water quality assessed for the Bandhwari landfill site region indicated that groundwater from the study area depicted some of the physicochemical characteristics in the greater concentration as compared to the prescribed limits by the World Health Organization and Indian Standards. The presence of metals, viz. Pb with Zn, Ni and Cu; Zn with Ni and Cu were found to be in positive correlation. The values of Pb were found to be in correlation with other metals hence showing no inhibition in migration and diffusion of metals. No significant health risk was observed due to the presence of analyzed metals in groundwater as per THQ values calculated although the THQ values were significantly higher for Pb and Cd in comparison to other studied metals. This study may be useful for future studies for the analysis of trends in metal concentration and groundwater parameters in the vicinity of Bandwari landfill site.

No ethical approval is required as no living organism/plant or human was subjected to research.

V.W. and L.B. were involved in the execution of the sampling/analysis work; V.M. was involved in conception and design of the work; M.S. was involved in data analysis, interpretation writing, and proofreading; P.K. was involved in statistical analysis and proof reading.

No funding was received for the research work.

All relevant data are included in the paper or its Supplementary Information.

The authors declare there is no conflict.

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Supplementary data