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Paper Details

Fluoride Contamination in a Hard Rock Terrain: A Case Study of Purulia District, West Bengal, India

Sharad Chakrabarti* and Susnata Ray

Journal Title:Journal of Chemical, Biological and physical sciences

Symptoms of high fluoride is evidenced in the groundwater of Purulia district of West Bengal, India for quite some time. Hydro-geochemical survey was carried out to find out the level and extent of affectation in the different blocks of Purulia district. It is observed that the sub-surface hydro-geoenvironment of Purulia is highly contaminated with this deadly poison. Out of 10704 tube wells surveyed in the 17 blocks of Purulia, 797 sources are detected having fluoride above the desirable limit of 1 mg/l. Down-the-hole rock drilling were performed in 19 different locations in the three worst affected blocks of Purulia, namely Purulia-I, Purulia-II and Hura. Nearly 70% of the drill-hole water samples collected from the different depth zones is found to bear fluoride above 1 mg/l. An attempt was made to identify the sources and causes of such fluoride enrichment in Purulia groundwater. High fluoride is derived from fluoride rich minerals such as apatite, fluorite, hornblende and biotite which are present in the country rocks dominated by granite gneisses and hornblende-biotite gneiss. Intensive and prolonged semi-arid climate, long term withdrawal of groundwater for irrigation, alkaline nature of sub-surface circulating water, long residence time of water in fractured aquifers, and low chances of dilution are favourable for fluoride enrichment in the Purulia region.