1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In most of the developing countries, solid wastes are being dumped on land without adopting any acceptable sanitary land filling practices. Precipitation that infiltrates the solid wastes disposed on land mixes with the liquids already trapped in the crevices of the waste and leach compounds from the solid waste. The leachate thus formed contains dissolved inorganic and organic solutes. In course of time, the leachate formed diffuses into the soil and changes the physicochemical characteristics of water. Leachate from a solid waste disposal site is generally found to contain major elements like calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrogen and ammonia, trace metals like iron, copper, manganese, chromium nickel, lead and organic compounds like phenols, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, acetone, benzene, toluene, chloroform etc. The concentration of these in the leachate and water depends on the composition of wastes. Some of the pollutants may be adsorbed on to the soil media during the flow of leachate through the soil. Areas near landfills have a greater possibility of groundwater contamination because of the potential pollution source of leachate originating from the nearby dumping site. Such contamination of groundwater results in a substantial risk to local groundwater resource user and to the natural environment. Land disposal of wastes is an important element of solid waste management. Equally important is the ability to conduct landfill operations without adversely impacting ground water, surface water, or the environment. The disposition of this huge volume of waste material increases the potential for adversely affecting human health and/or the environment. One major factor in environmental protection at a landfill site is leachate control Leachate from solid waste disposal sites can be a significant source of ground-water and surface water contamination if not properly managed. The resulting impacts occur when water passing through refuse accumulates various contaminants and migrates into underlying ground waters, seriously degrading the water quality of the aquifer.’ These adverse impacts can have a serious economic problem when ground-water resources are lost indefinitely. Subsequently, hydrologically interconnected surface water bodies may also be affected. In the 1977 Report to Congress on waste disposal practices and their effects on ground water, data current at that time indicated that waste disposal facilities (including domestic septic systems) were releasing over 1700 billion gallons of contaminated liquid into the ground each year. This resulted in ground-water contamination on both a local and regional basis in all parts of the nation. The degree of contamination ranged from a slight degradation of the natural quality to the presence of toxic concentrations of heavy metals and organic compounds. With the increasing demands on land and water resources, the protection of these resources from leachate impacts posed has become a vital Agency program objective. Geochemical processes that control the quality of surface and groundwater are currently a topic of increasing concern everywhere because water is a blue gold of vital economic and social importance. Its quality has an effect on the health of human beings as well as the growth of crops. Minerals of bedrock are subjected to weathering and leaching, and so contribute dissolved constituents to both surface and groundwater. Also anthropogenic activities affect water chemistry. An understanding of these processes is thus essential for the sustainable development of the water resources of an area. Many interrelated processes control the chemical composition of water and the understanding of these processes is needed before one can act intelligently towards groundwater quality control and improvement (Hem, 2009). Principal component analyses are thus used for identifying the geogenic and anthropogenic processes which result in the variations in the chemical composition of both surface and groundwater that may have adverse effects on human beings. This will aid in implementing the appropriate remedial management measures in time for the development of water resources of an area. The impact of landfill leachate on the surface and groundwater has given rise to a number of studies in recent years and gained major importance due to drastic increase in population. There are many approaches that can be used to assess the groundwater and surface water contamination. It can be assessed either by the experimental determination of the impurities or their estimation through mathematical modelling.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
A high amount of solid waste generated within the Aba Metropolis is not collected. As a result, a lot of solid wastes are left within the communities. Most of the houses in the communities lack appropriate sanitary infrastructure for liquid waste disposal and therefore major portion of grey water and black water generated are disposed off into the Stream. Several cottage industries within the catchment also discharge their effluent directly into the Stream. In order to prevent the Stream from pollution, it is imperative that, the uncollected solid waste and the practice of discharge of untreated liquid waste into the Stream should be addressed and prevented. Unsuitable disposal of waste causes all types of pollution: air, soil, and water. Indiscriminate dumping of wastes contaminates surface and ground water supplies. In urban areas, waste clogs drains, creating stagnant water for insect breeding and floods during rainy seasons. Open burning of waste contributes significantly to urban air pollution. Open dumping is quite common in developing countries due to low budget available for waste disposal. It also poses serious threat to surface and groundwater.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine impact of waste disposal practice on surface and ground water. Other general objectives of the study are:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H01: There is no significant impact of waste disposal practice on surface and ground water
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The general public, government and waste management agencies stand to benefit from this study. Empirically, the outcome of this research will enable the general public and government to grasp deeply the hazardous effect of reckless disposal of waste along every nook and cranny of the nation, its effect on surface and ground water quality and factors that impede/hamper the implementation of waste management in Abia State. Also, this study will equally strengthen government efforts towards the release of funds for waste evacuations and informing people about the proper methods of waste disposal practices having vividly understood the import of poor waste management via extensive work done on this write-up. Theoretically, this study will make a useful contribution in the field of management as it will serve as another source of knowledge in the management of waste and material resources of the various establishments in Nigeria.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on impact of waste disposal practice on surface and ground water, a case study of Aba in Abia state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Groundwater: Water that infiltrates and is stored in the spaces between particles in the earth.
Leachate: Contaminant-laden water that flows from landfills or other contaminated sites.
Dumpsites: Also known as traditional landfills are excavated pieces of land or pits where waste materials are stored.
Surface Water: Is water on the surface of the planet such as in a river, lake, wetland, or ocean. It can be contrasted with groundwater and atmospheric water.
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