GEP  Vol.4 No.1 , January 2016
Assessment of Physicochemical Characteristics of Sediment from Nwaja Creek, Niger Delta, Nigeria
Abstract
Sediments are complex environments, with varying physicochemical characteristics, such as composition and type of organic matter, particle size distribution, and pH. Contaminated sediment is a significant environmental problem affecting many marine, estuarine and freshwater environments throughout the world. Most assessments of water quality have historically focused on water-soluble compounds, with relatively little attention paid to sediment. The aim of this research is to assess the physical and chemical parameters of sediments from Nwaja Creek, Niger Delta, Nigeria. Monitoring of this sediment quality is an important part of preserving and restoring the biological integrity of water bodies as well as protecting aquatic life, wild life and human health. Sediment samples from Nwaja Creek were sampled from seven sampling stations along the creek for over three months May to July, 2015, rainfall peak period, for assessment of their physical and chemical characteristics, such as grain size, organic carbon, pH, conductivity, nitrate and phosphate. These parameters are known to influence the interactions and dynamics of pollutants within sediment matrix. Sediment particle size distribution indicates that they have higher proportion of clay (clay > silt > sand), the mean percentage composition of clay, silt and sand ranged between 64.28% ± 22.04% - 72.36% ± 14.00%, 18.71% ± 12.03% - 27.32% ± 22.17% and 8.40% ± 6.28% - 9.76% ± 4.59% respectively. TOC in the study area is generally above 1% across all stations during the study period with a range between 0.98% and 4.58%. Minimal monthly and spatial variations are observed in particle distribution, pH (3.9 - 8.5) and phosphate (5.5 - 15.5 kg/mg) while significant variations are observed in conductivity (23.0 - 567.0 uS/cm), total organic carbon (0.98% - 4.58%) and nitrate (0.45 - 11.9 mg/kg) concentration. It is concluded that physicochemical characteristics of the sediments from Nwaja Creek are influenced by anthropogenic sources rather than natural as shown by the elevated phosphate and nitrate levels because the Niger Delta geology is not essentially rich in nitrate and its excess in surface or groundwater is considered as pollutant.

Cite this paper
Adesuyi, A. , Ngwoke, M. , Akinola, M. , Njoku, K. and Jolaoso, A. (2016) Assessment of Physicochemical Characteristics of Sediment from Nwaja Creek, Niger Delta, Nigeria. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 4, 16-27. doi: 10.4236/gep.2016.41002.
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