Uranium in groundwater in Varanasi: study

Varanasi: Groundwater in Varanasi and adjoining areas is contaminated with uranium, according to a study by a group of scientists.

The study conducted by G.C. Chowdhary, former Professor at the Geology Department of Banaras Hindu University, and S.K. Agarwal, also a professor of Geology, has shown that the drinking water in the University premises and some other places in the city contains more radioactive uranium than the recommended limit.

Samples for the study were collected from 11 tubewells tapping deep aquifers (more than 100 metre deep).

The uranium content varied from 2 to 11 ppb (parts per billion) while the permissible limit is only 1.5 ppb.

Heavy metals

Mr. Chowdhary said the groundwater also contained heavy metals such as chromium, manganese, nickel, ferrous, copper, zinc and lead.

He said they had also published their first research paper in this regard in the Hydrology Journal of the Indian Association of Hydrology in 1990s, clearly predicting that this contaminated water would cause health hazards.

However, Member Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, C.S. Bhatt, told PTI over phone that he had not come across any report, which suggested that the groundwater in Varanasi was contaminated with radioactive element. — PTI

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