Saltwater intrusion and nitrate pollution in the coastal aquifer of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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Springer, Environimental Earth Science.


Dar es Salaam Quaternary coastal aquifer is a major source of water supply in Dar es Salaam City used for domestic, agricultural, and industrial uses. However, groundwater overdraft and contamination are the major problems affecting the aquifer system. This study aims to define the principal hydrogeochemical processes control- ling groundwater quality in the coastal strip of Dar es Salaam and to investigate whether the threats of seawater intrusion and pollution are influencing groundwater qual- ity. Major cations and anions analysed in 134 groundwater samples reveal that groundwater is mainly affected by four factors: dissolution of calcite and dolomite, weathering of silicate minerals, seawater intrusion due to aquifer over- exploitation, and nitrate pollution mainly caused by the use of pit latrines and septic tanks. High enrichment of Na ? and Cl - near the coast gives an indication of seawater intrusion into the aquifer as also supported from the Na–Cl signature on the Piper diagram. The boreholes close to the coast have much higher Na/Cl molar ratios than the boreholes located further inland. The dissolution of calcite and dolomite in recharge areas results in Ca–HCO 3 and Ca–Mg–HCO 3 groundwater types. Further along flow paths, Ca 2? and Na ? ion exchange causes groundwater evolution to Na–HCO 3 type. From the PHREEQC simu- lation model, it appears that groundwater is undersaturated to slightly oversaturated with respect to the calcite and dolomite minerals. The results of this study provide important information required for the protection of the aquifer system.


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Dar es Salaam, Coastal aquifer, Hydrogeochemical processes, nitrate contamination, Salinization, Cation exchange