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The quality and accessibility of drinking water are of paramount importance to human health. Drinking water may contain disease causing agents and toxic chemicals and to control the risks to public health, systematic water quality monitoring and surveillance are required. Thousands of chemicals have been identified in drinking water supplies around the world and are considered potentially hazardous to human health at relatively high concentrations. Heavy metals are the most harmful of the chemical pollutants and are of particular concern due to their toxicities to humans. Moringa oleifera seed acts as a natural coagulant, adsorbent and antimicrobial agent while commercial activated carbon is known for its excellent heavy metal removal. It is believed that Moringa oleifera seed is an organic natural polymer. The coagulation mechanism of the Moringa oleifera coagulant protein has been described as adsorption, charge neutralization and interparticle bridging. It is mainly characteristic of high molecular weight polyelectrolyte. Analysis of the heavy metals Lead, Nickel, Iron, and zinc were performed before and after treatment of water with Moringa oleifera seed coagulant, CAC and the mixture of both. The results showed that Moringa oleifera seeds and CAC were capable of adsorbing the heavy metals tested in some water samples. The optimum dosage of Moringa oleifera seed powder for water sample was 4g/L which gave 100%, and 88% removal efficiencies of Pb and Ni respectively, while the optimum dosage of CAC for water sample was 6g/L which gave 100%, 100% and 92% removal efficiencies of Pb, Zn and Ni respectively. Also the optimum dosage of mixture of Moringa oleifera seed powder and commercial activated for water sample was 4g/L which gave 100%, and 86% removal efficiencies of Pb and Ni respectively. Fitting in of Langmuir isotherm and Freundlich shows that Langmuir fits in more than Freundlich. Also it was verified in this work that Moringa oleifera serves as an antimicrobial agent as it reduced the colonies to Zero on the dosage of 6g/L.
Potable water accessibility has always been a major problem encountered in the developing countries (Eman et al., 2009; Yarahmadi et al., 2009; Kawo and Daneji, 2011; Mohammed et al., 2013). Many have encountered diseases, sicknesses, stunted growth, deformity, death, etc. from the consumption of bad water (whether from raw or treated sources) (Olowoyo and Garuba, 2012). The fact is, some of the claimed treated water are even worse than the untreated ones because of the poor method or excessive chemicals used.
Many people believe that any ground water (such as well and bore hole) which is well managed without treatment is very good for consumption. But the case is different some times, because some of these ground waters are located where there had been earlier deposition of toxic materials (such as refuse, waste batteries, industrial waste, faeces, urine, dead animals, etc.). However, while transferring the water from the depth, to the receiving end (i.e. storage), there is tendency of it getting contaminated by microorganisms. Water below pH of 6.0 tend to attack and dissolves heavy metals from its cache hence, depending on the type of cache (metal, concrete or polymer made storage).
With water covering more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, it is hard to imagine that potable water is a scarce resource. The problem is that less than 1% of the water on the planet is readily available for drinking or agriculture. Most of the water on Earth (97%), is salt water stored in the oceans; only 3% is freshwater. Of all of the freshwater on Earth, 68% is locked up in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland, 30% is in the ground, and only 0.3% is contained in surface waters such as lakes and rivers (Shakhashiri, 2011). Over one billion people lack access to safe drinking water worldwide (Shakhashiri, 2011) and water-related disease mortality ranges from 2.2 to 5 million annually (Peter, 2002). This death is as a result of wide range of water problems facing nations and individuals around the world. These problems include international and regional disputes over water, water scarcity and contamination, unsustainable use of groundwater, ecological degradation, and the threat of climate change (Peter, 2002).
The contamination of water is largely as a result of turbidity, presence of dangerous microbes (micro-organisms) and presence of excess and unwanted heavy metals. Turbidity which is the amount of particulate matter present in water occurs in surface water majorly as a result of intake of large water which usually come from rain fall, discharge from industries and houses, rivers and streams etc. Turbidity also occurs in ground water (well) when flood flows in or enters through an opening in the ground. Also, the presence of microbes (such as E. coli, Samonella Enterica, Klebsiella, etc.) which are accumulated through exposure to the atmosphere. Surface water bodies and some ground water are always exposed to the atmosphere and organisms do move with air. Other ways of accumulating microbes are contaminations from humans, animals, agricultural wastes, and discharges from various sources.
Heavy metals get to both surface and ground water bodies through industrial activities (such as paints and pigments, glass production, metal plating, and battery manufacturing process), mining operations (Olowoyo and Garuba, 2012; Bernard et al., 2013). Heavy metals are present in the soil, natural water and air in various forms. Some of them are constituents of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers applications (Olowoyo and Garuba, 2012). Heavy metals such as lead (Pb), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), mercury (Hg), uranium (U), selenium (Se), zinc (Zn), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni) etc. are very toxic and are emitted into water through the stated processes in quantities that expose human health to risks (Bernard et al., 2013). Heavy metals are natural components of the earth crust (Chimezie et al., 2011), and are not biodegradable (Bernard et al., 2013). These metals enter into living organisms through food or proximity to emission sources. They tend to bioaccumulate and are stored faster than excreted. Industrial exposure accounts for a common route of contact in adults and ingestion for children (Chimezie et al., 2011). This bioaccumulation leads to several health problems in animal and human being such as cancer, kidney failure, metabolic acidosis, oral ulcer, renal failure and damage (Bernard et al., 2013).
Potable water essentiality to lives cannot be over emphasised as it is a basic requirement for living creatures and human being specifically. Water from all sources must have some form of purification before consumption and various methods used in making water safe for consumer depend on the character or nature of the water (Eman et al., 2009).
The objectives of treating water are basically to remove particulate matters (turbidity), disinfection, and removal of excess and unwanted heavy metals. Hence every method that has been employed in water treatment is just to achieve these objectives. Ultra-violet ray, reverse osmosis, alum, chlorine, nontoxic organic acid, neutralizing chemicals, ion exchange, filtration, aeration, ozone etc. have been the common methods used in water treatment. Some of these methods are very expensive as they require high maintenance, skilled labour, capital, energy, etc. also, the chemicals used are imported thereby raising its scarcity as it takes a longer time to get them to the country and at a cost. Likewise, accumulation of chemicals such as chlorine, alum, lime, etc. are very injurious to health hence those that take in treated waters through these chemicals are prone to health hazards. Hence, nontoxic natural occurring products are better for the treatment of water.
Products from natural sources like agricultural products (like Moringa, palm kernel shell etc.), are good to be used in place of the chemicals used. This is because of their low cost, availability and low or no negative health effect.
Moringa oleifera is one of the most wide spread plant species that grows quickly at low altitudes in the whole tropical belt, including arid zones. It can grow on medium soils having relatively low humidity. Moringa Oleifera seeds are organic natural polymer (Eman et al., 2009). Moringa oleifera tree is known as clarifier tree around the Nile River. This is the species belonging to the north of India which is the most famous one among all species. This tree is resistant to dryness and grows in arid and semiarid areas, so it is called miracle tree. One type of this tree, i.e. Moringa Pergenia, belongs to Iran and grows in the deserts of Sistan-andBalochestan. (Yarahmadi et al., 2009).
Compared to the commonly used coagulant chemicals, Moringa oleifera has a number of advantages which include low cost production of biodegradable sludge, lower sludge volume (Nwaiwu et al., 2011), it is readily available, requires low or no skilled labour, environmental friendly, low cost equipment, low maintenance, doesn’t release toxic materials into the treated water, bears antimicrobial properties against S. typhi, V. cholerae and E. coli and it could be a promising natural antimicrobial agent with potential application in controlling bacteria that cause water borne diseases. And the most advantageous effect over chemical coagulants is the stability of the pH during the coagulation and flocculation process (Mohammed et al., 2013). The unwanted heavy metals could be eliminated via adsorption using activated carbon from agricultural material. Adsorption is a surface phenomenon that occurs when a gas or liquid solute accumulate on the surface of a solid or liquid forming a molecular or atomic film, adsorption has been described as an effective separation process for treating industrial and domestic effluents (Okeola and Odebunmi, 2010). It is widely used as effective physical method of separation in order to eliminate or lower the concentration of a wide range of dissolved pollutants (organics or inorganics) in the effluent. It is also known that adsorption is one of the most efficient methods for the removal of heavy metals from wastewater (Kumar and Chinnaiya, 2009; Babatunde et al., 2009; Olowoyo and Garuba, 2012; Onundi et al., 2010).
Activated carbon is the most widely used adsorbent due to its excellent adsorption capability for heavy metals (Emmanuel et al., 2012). Activated carbon is an industrial raw material obtained by carbonization of carbonaceous biomass materials within a temperature range of 300 to 600°C in the absence of oxygen. It aims at removing most volatiles leaving behind carbon rich char whose surface area is larger than the original substance. Activated carbon can be produced in different ways such as steam (heat) activation and acid activation (Okoroigwe et al., 2013).
The advantages in using activated carbon in the treatment of water is as follows. It is readily available, it requires low or no skilled labour, environmental friendly, requires low maintenance, and lastly, application of activated carbon as an adsorbent offers highly effective technological means in dealing with pollution of heavy metals and solving agricultural waste disposal problems, with minimum investment required (Onundi et al., 2010). Therefore, this research is focused on the treatment of water from Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) bore hole using Moringa Oleifera and commercial activated carbon.
1.1 Research Problem
Production of drinkable water has increasingly become a major concern as the population increases and the available sources for drinkable water remain the same. Maintenance and increment of production of potable water is however very expensive.
Imported chemicals for treatment of water is expensive and have been shown to have harmful effects on human health with prolonged consumption. Also the conventional methods and technologies for the treatment of water used are way expensive. Studies have therefore showed that agricultural products and by-products can be used for the treatment of water. Moringa oleifera is readily available in Nigeria. Although there have been several researches in recent years on utilization of Moringa Oleifera for environmental and health purposes, there is however need for its further utilization in water treatment.
There is also, a dearth of information on the utilization of both Moringa Oleifera and activated carbon for the treatment of water.
1.2 Aim and Objectives
The aim of this research is to study the effectiveness of Moringa oleifera seed as a disinfectant and adsorbent and activated carbon as an adsorbent to provide alternatives to treatment of water from ABUAD bore hole. The objectives of this work are:
1. Characterization of water sample in order to determine its physicochemical properties.
2. Study of the disinfectant potential / performance of Moringa oleifera seed.
3. Study of the adsorption potential /performance of the commercial activated carbon.
4. Investigation of the effect disinfectant dosage on the disinfection capacity.
5. Investigation of the effect of adsorbent dosage on the adsorption capacity.
6. Characterization of final water sample in order to determine its physicochemical properties and comparing it with the standard.
1.3 Research Scope and Limitation
1. Moringa oleifera seed capacity will be investigated and evaluated.
2. The adsorption capacity of the activated carbon will be investigated and evaluated.
3. Investigation of the effects of parameters (such as adsorbent dosage, contact time and initial concentration) on the disinfection and adsorption processes will be carried out according to standard.
4. The scope of this research is limited to water sourced from ABUAD bore hole (located around ABUAD water plant), Moringa from ABUAD farm (ABUAD Moringa plant) and commercial activated carbon from a local vendor.
5. The limitation of the work is anchored on analytical tools locally available within the university (ABUAD).
The adverse effects of Water impurities on human health has drawn the attention of researchers to alternative ways of removing impurities such as heavy metals that are very injurious to health. Though some heavy metals are required in trace amount, while some are not even needed at all. Also, microbes present in the water body also have negative impact on humans and animals. Government and non-governmental bodies have tried many methods to ensure that potable water is produced so as to put the community in safety, but the expenses of the conventional methods have frustrated their efforts, thereby forcing them to either produce bad water, small quantity of water supply or even total shut down of their processes. Hence, the production of water using a cost effective method is stealing the show of research today.
Therefore, the success of this research will create and encourage a very cost effective and more efficient water treatment process using Moringa oleifera seed and commercial activated carbon compared to the expensive, energy consuming, man power consuming, and health hazardous conventional water treatment process.