Tropical Freshwater Biology, 23 (2014) 87 - 101 87
http://www.ajol.info/index.php/tfb; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/tfb.v23i1.5
HARMFUL EFFECTS OF WASTEWATER DISPOSAL INTO WATER
BODIES: A CASE REVIEW OF THE IKPOBA RIVER, BENIN CITY,
Department of Animal and Environmental Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences,
University of Benin, P.M.B.1154, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
Email: email@example.com, Tel: 08056545536
Improper disposal of waste water and the problems of addressing challenges
from wastewater discharge into water bodies have led to an increase in the
rate of wastewater generation. Abattoir wastes, industrial wastes from
breweries, agricultural runoffs, and waste water from car wash located close
to the Ikpoba River have adverse effects on the water quality. High levels of
pollutants in river cause an increase in biological oxygen demand (BOD),
chemical oxygen demand (COD), total dissolved solids (TDS), and total
suspended solids (TSS). Toxic metals such as Cd, Cr, Ni and Pb make such
water unsuitable for drinking, irrigation, aquatic life and even pose a great
risk to human health. This article provides an insight into the hazards and
economic implications of improper wastewater management and control on
the immediate environment using the Ikpoba River in Benin City, Nigeria as a
case study. In this review, the assemblage of detailed information with a
complete and intensive literature survey was used. It was observed that high
economic activities taking place continuously on the Ikpoba River waterfront
have contributed significantly to the high level of pollution experienced by
the River. Industrial/commercial activities taking place within the metropolis
include car wash, washing of rugs, livestock markets, abattoirs, and market
waste disposal. However, public enlightenment, setting up proper waste
water channels, establishment of wastewater treatment plants and
wastewater management plans should be put in place. Therefore, this article
emphasizes the need for proper wastewater disposal in the Ikpoba River.
Keywords: wastewater, control, disposal, harmful effects, Ikpoba River,
Trop. Freshwat. Biol. 0795-0101/14/15USD ©2014 Idodo Umeh Publishers Ltd., Nigeria
88 J.O. Odigie
Human activities contribute impurities in the form of industrial, domestic,
agricultural and chemical wastes to water bodies (Barker, 1996). The Ikpoba River
which flows through Benin City is a typical example of river with several waste -
discharging activities (abattoir, rubber factory, brewery industry, car wash depot,
and hospital waste dumpsite) located along its course. Meat processing and
operational waste tends to be worrisome due to their high content of putrescible
organic matter, which can lead to the depletion of oxygen and cause water supply
impairment (Figueras, 2000). One of the most critical problems of developing
countries is improper management of the vast amount of wastes generated by
various anthropogenic activities. More challenging is the unsafe disposal of these
wastes into the ambient environment (Kanu and Achi, 2011). Water bodies
especially freshwater reservoirs are the most affected. This has often rendered
these natural resources unsuitable for both primary and/or secondary usage
(Fakayode, 2005). However, industrial effluent contamination of natural water
bodies has emerged as a major challenge in developing and densely populated
countries like Nigeria. Estuaries and inland water bodies, which are the primary
sources of drinking water in Nigeria, are often contaminated by the activities of
the adjoining populations and industrial establishments (Sangodoyin, 1995). River
systems are the primary means for disposal of waste, especially the effluents from
industries that are near them. These effluents from industries can alter the
physical, chemical and biological nature of the receiving water body (Sangodoyin,
In addition to the foregoing, increased industrial activities have led to
pollution stress on surface waters both from industrial, agricultural and domestic
sources (Kanu and Achi, 2011). Wastes entering these water bodies are both in
solid and liquid forms. These are mostly derived from industrial, agricultural and
domestic activities. As a result, water bodies that are major receptacles of treated
and untreated or partially treated industrial wastes have become highly polluted
(Osibanjo et al., 2011). The resultant effects of this on public health and the
environment are usually high in magnitude (Osibanjo et al., 2011). Over the last
years, in many African countries a considerable population growth has taken
place, accompanied by a steep increase in urbanization, industrial and agricultural
land use. This has entailed a tremendous increase in discharge of a wide diversity
of pollutants to receiving water bodies and has caused undesirable effects on the
different components of the aquatic environment and on fisheries (Kanu and Achi,
2011). As a result, there is a growing appreciation that nationally, regionally, and
globally, the management and utilization of natural resources need to be improved
and that the amount of waste and pollution generated by human activity need to be
reduced on a large scale (Kanu and Achi, 2011).
Furthermore, industries are the primary sources of pollution in all
environments. Based on the type of industry, various levels of pollutants can be
discharged into the environment directly or indirectly through the public sewer
lines (Glyn and Gary, 1996). Wastewater from industries includes employees’
sanitary waste, process wastes from manufacturing, wash waters and relatively
uncontaminated water from heating and cooling operations (Glyn and Gary,
Wastewater disposal into water bodies 89
1996). High levels of pollutants in river water systems causes an increase in
biologicaloxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), total
dissolved solids (TDS), total suspended solids (TSS), toxic metals such as Cd, Cr,
Ni and Pb and fecal coliform and hence make such water unsuitable for drinking,
irrigation and aquatic life (Kanu and Achi, 2011). Additionally, industrial
wastewaters come with high biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) from
biodegradable wastes such as those from human sewage, pulp and paper
industries, slaughterhouses, tanneries and chemical industry. Others include those
from plating shops and textiles, which may be toxic and require on-site physico-
chemical pre-treatment before discharge into municipal sewage system (Emongor
et al., 2005; Otokunefor and Obiukwu, 2005; Phiri et al., 2005). Organic
pollution of inland water systems in Africa is often the result of extreme poverty
and economic and social underdevelopment in contrast to the situation in
developed countries of the world. According to Kanu and Achi (2011), it is in
these countries that the quality of water, and often the quantity, is lowest,
sanitation and nutrition the worst and disease most prevalent.
Unfortunately, there are very few studies on the social, economic and
health implications of waste discharge into inland waters in Africa. In general, the
available data came from scattered investigations, which were carried out by
individuals and very few scientific projects concerned with African waters.
Nonetheless, few reviews exist on the state of pollution of the Nigerian inland
waters, and mostly, the Ikpoba River (Ogbeibu and Edutie, 2002; Ogbeibu and
Ezeunara, 2002). This paper therefore provides information on the harmful effects
of wastewater discharge into inland waters, using the Ikpoba River as a case study.
The method adopted in this editorial was the assemblage of detailed information
with a complete and intensive literature survey according to the evaluation method
espoused by (Nkonyeasua, 2010).
Abattoir discharge into water bodies
In Nigeria, many abattoirs dispose of their effluents directly into streams and
rivers without any form of treatment, and slaughtered meats are washed by the
same river water (Adelegan, 2002). Such is the situation in several private and
government abattoirs in most parts of the country. Reports have shown that
indiscriminate disposal of slaughterhouse waste may introduce enteric pathogens
into surface and ground water (Ruiz et al., 1997) and the pathogens isolated from
abattoir wastewaters can survive in the environment and pose danger to humans
and animals (Coker et al., 2001). Although there are reports on the microbial
attributes and toxic effects of different industrial wastes as well as leachates
(Amisu et al., 2003), nonetheless, there is a paucity of knowledge on such
polluted rivers that receive pollutants from multiple sources (Amisu et al., 2003).
One of such rivers in Benin City is the Ikpoba River. This river flows through a
dense rainforest and is subjected to pollution from storm run-off in all areas as it
flows through Benin City (Atuanya et al., 2012). The river serves as a source of
water for domestic purpose including drinking and cooking. Most of the activities
90 J.O. Odigie
around the river and its upper reaches are agriculture, fishing, crop farming and
car-washing activities. The government abattoir managed by Local Government
Administration (LGA) is sited on the bank of the Ikpoba River together with other
The government abattoir established in 1967 slaughters about 50 cows and
goats on a daily basis (Atuanya et al., 2012). On this note, Coker et al. (2001) in
their report identified seven pathogenic species of bacteria in abattoir effluent in
southwestern Nigeria. The species include Staphylococcus sp., Streptococcus sp.
in harsh environmental condition; hence they affect animal and human health.
Besides, Sangodoyin and Agbawhe (1992) investigated the pollution load of
effluent from four abattoirs at Ibadan and found that all parameters except pH are
higher than the permissible limit set by national and international regulatory
bodies. More so, environmental problems have increased over the last four
decades with improper management practices being primarily responsible for the
gross pollution of aquatic environment with concomitant increase in water-borne
diseases especially typhoid fever, cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery. Abattoirs are
known all over the world to pollute the environment either directly or indirectly
from their various processes (Adelegan, 2002). In buttress of the previous,
Atuanya et al. (2012) observed that effluent discharged from slaughter-houses has
caused the deoxygenation of rivers. In addition, effluents from slaughter houses
have also been known to contaminate ground water.
However, Trift and Schuchardt (1992) reported that blood that happens to
be one of the major dissolved pollutants in slaughter effluent has a chemical
oxygen demand (COD) value of 375,000 mg/L. This impacts high organic
pollutants on the receiving waters and consequently creating intense competition
for oxygen within the ecosystem. This chemical oxygen demand (COD) value is
far greater than the maximum limit of 80 mg/L set by Federal Environmental
Protection Agency/Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria (1991). Besides,
Hinton et al. (2000) reported that the slaughter of animals in abattoirs of
developing countries is carried out in unsuitable buildings by untrained
slaughtermen and butchers that are unaware of sanitary principles. In addition,
waste generated by abattoirs includes solid waste made up of paunch content,
bones, horns and faecal components, slurry of suspended solids, fat, blood and
soluble materials (Sangodoyin and Agbawhe, 1992). In respect to this, Coker et al.
(2001) reported that abattoir waste can affect water, land and air qualities if proper
practices of management are not followed.
Wastewater reuse in agriculture
In urban areas, reclaimed wastewater has been used mainly for non-potable
applications (Crook et al., 1992) such as:
• Irrigation of public parks, recreation centers, athletic fields, school yards and
playing fields, and edges and central reservations of highways;
• Irrigation of landscaped areas surrounding public, residential, commercial and
• Courses on Irrigatio;
Wastewater disposal into water bodies 91
• Ornamental landscapes and decorative water features, such as fountains,
reflecting pools and waterfalls;
• Fire protection; and
• Toilet and urinal flushing in commercial and industrial buildings.
Moreover, the disadvantages of urban non-potable reuse are usually related to
the high costs involved in the construction of dual water-distribution networks,
operational difficulties, and the potential risk of cross-connection. Costs, however,
should be balanced with the benefits of conserving potable water and eventually of
postponing or eliminating the need for the development of additional sources of
water supply. Potable urban reuse can be performed directly or indirectly. Indirect
potable reuse involves allowing the reclaimed water (or, in many instances, raw
wastewater) to be retained and diluted in surface or ground waters before it is
collected and treated for human consumption. Unplanned and indirect potable
reuse is performed on a large scale, when cities are supplied from sources
receiving substantial volumes of wastewater in many developing countries (Crook
et al., 1999). Often, only conventional treatment (coagulation-flocculation
clarification, filtration, and disinfection) is provided and, therefore, significant
long-term health effects may be expected from organic and inorganic trace
contaminants which remain in the water supplied. Direct potable reuse takes place
when the effluent from a wastewater reclamation plant is connected to a drinking-
water distribution network. Treatment costs are very high because the water has to
meet very stringent regulations that tend to be increasingly restrictive, both in
terms of the number of variables monitored as well as concerning tolerable
contaminant limits. Presently, only the city of Windhoek, Namibia is performing
direct potable reuse during dry periods. The Goreangab Reclamation Plant
constructed in 1968 is currently being enlarged to treat about 14,000 m
1997 in order to further augment supplies to the city of Windhoek (Van Der
Merwe et al., 1994).
Furthermore, there has been an increasing interest in reuse of wastewater
in agriculture over the last few decades due to increased demand for fresh water.
Population growth, increased per capita use of water, the demands of industry and
the agricultural sector all put pressure on water resources. Treatment of
wastewater provides an effluent of sufficient quality that it should be put to
beneficial use and not wasted (Asano, 1998). The reuse of wastewater has been
satisfactory for irrigation of a vast array of crops and increases in crop yields from
10-30% are reported (Asano, 1998). In addition, the reuse of treated wastewater
for irrigation and industrial purposes can be used as strategy to release fresh water
for domestic use, and to improve the quality of river waters used for abstraction of
drinking water (by reducing disposal of effluent into rivers). Wastewater is used
extensively for irrigation in certain countries e.g. 67% of total effluent of Israel,
25% in India and 24% in South Africa is reused for irrigation through direct
planning, though unplanned reuse is considerably greater. Again, there is
increasing water scarcity in dry climate regions, for example, in Africa and South
Asia, and there are significant political implications of water scarcity in some
regions e.g. Middle East (Murakami, 1995). Water quantity and quality issues are
both of concern. Recycling of wastewater is one of the main options when looking
for new sources of water in water scarce areas. The guidelines or standards
92 J.O. Odigie
required for removing health risks from the use of wastewater and the amount and
type of wastewater treatment needed to meet the guidelines are both contentious
issues (Shuval et al., 1997).
Even so, the cost of treating wastewater to high microbiological standards
can be so prohibitive that use of untreated wastewater is allowed to occur
unregulated (Shuval et al., 1997). Criticisms have included the use of ‘partial’
epidemiological studies in developing countries, ignoring the acquired immunity
of the population involved, and ignoring the health risk assessment methodology
used as a foundation for developing drinking water quality standards (Shelef,
1991). Concern has been expressed over the lack of sensitivity of epidemiological
methods to detect disease transmission that may not lead to apparent infection in
exposed individuals but to secondary transmission from them to cause illness in
susceptible individuals (Rose, 1986). Most regulatory agencies in the USA have
chosen not to use epidemiological studies as the basis for determining water
quality standards (Crook, 1998). The transmission of viral infections through
treated wastewater use in industrialized countries has been a particular issue, also
related to the relative inefficiency of disinfection processes in removing viruses in
comparison with bacteria. Concern had been expressed over the transmission of
emerging parasite infections such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Cyclospora,
which are not easily removed by conventional treatment processes. On the other
hand, many countries have welcomed the guidance from WHO, and standards in
many countries have been based on WHO (1989) Guidelines e.g. France, Mexico.
Not ignorant of the health hazards associated with wastewater irrigation, the
International Water Management Institute identified several simple practices that
could reduce health risks to farmers and the community where domestic
wastewater is used for irrigation. These methods include: wearing shoes and
gloves while working in wastewater irrigated fields, regular treatment of farmers
and their families with antihelmintic drugs to prevent worm infections, crop
restrictions in wastewater irrigated areas and better information on hygiene
behaviour and risk of wastewater irrigation for farmers (Nkonyeasua, 2010)
Wastewater as a valuable energy source
Electricity is a critical input for delivering municipal water and wastewater
services. Electricity costs are usually between 5 to 30 percent of total operating
costs for water and wastewater utilities (WWUs) worldwide. The share is higher in
developing countries and can go up to 40 percent or more in some countries, such
as India and Bangladesh (Van Den Berg et al., 2011). Such energy costs translate
into high and often unsustainable operating costs, which directly affect the
financial health of WWUs, puts strains on public/ municipal budgets, and can
increase tariffs on their customer base. In developing countries, WWUs are
commonly owned and operated by the government. Many are run by city
authorities. As such, electricity used for the provision of water and wastewater
services can have a significant impact on a municipal governments’ budget and
fiscal outlook ((USEPA, 2008). Also, in India, for example, water supply was
reported to be the largest expenditure item among all municipal services (Mukesh,
2000). Programs designed to lead to reductions in WWU operating costs can thus
become an attractive proposition for both utilities and their municipal owners,
Wastewater disposal into water bodies 93
potentially creating fiscal space to grapple with other socioeconomic priorities
while also lessening the upward pressure on water and wastewater tariffs.
Improving energy efficiency (EE) is at the core of measures to reduce operational
cost at WWUs. Since energy represents the largest controllable operational
expenditure of most WWUs, and many EE measures have a payback period of less
than five years, investing in EE supports quicker and greater expansion of clean
water access for the poor by making the system cheaper to operate (UNESCO,
On a national or global level, improving EE of WWUs reduces the
pressure of adding new power generation capacity and reduces the emissions of
local and global pollutants. Available case studies indicate that cost-effective
measures can bring up to 25 percent overall EE improvements at WWUs in
developing countries (Barry, 2007). A recent assessment of WWUs in
industrialized countries also suggests similar financially viable system-wide
energy savings potential (5 to 25 percent), (WERF, 2010). Using the 5 to 25
percent range, the global energy savings of the sector at its current level of
operation could be in the range of 34 to 168 TWh per year (2008 IEA Energy
Statistics). Hence, the upper bound is roughly the annual generation of 23 large
thermal power plants (1,000 MW each), more than the annual electricity
production of Indonesia in 2008. Increase in demand for energy to move and treat
water and wastewater in developing country cities is likely to be significant in the
next 20 years or so. The world’s urban population is projected to grow by 1.5
billion from 2010 to 2030; about 94 percent of this growth will occur in
developing countries (UN Population Division, 2007). Extrapolating by urban
population growth alone would imply a 40 percent rise in demand for municipal
water and wastewater services by 2030(WHO/UNICEF, 2010). On the other hand,
one must also consider the fact that currently only about 73 percent of urban
households in developing countries have access to piped water and 68 percent
have access to improved sanitation, compared with virtually universal coverage of
such services in developed countries (WHO/UNICEF, 2010). Barry, (2007),
suggested that based on trends in advanced countries, water and wastewater
treatment may become more energy intensive in the next two decades due to
stricter health and pollution regulations, which often require additional or more
sophisticated treatment that uses more energy.
Nonetheless, greater efforts to improve EE in municipal water supply and
wastewater treatment for both existing and new systems would have a number of
positive effects: lower costs to consumers, the ability to serve new urban
populations, greenhouse gas mitigation, and help to ensure the long-term fiscal
stability of this vital municipal service. In California, by injecting the effluent of
wastewater into Geysers’ steam reservoir has led to the production of about 85
additional megawatts. By injecting recycled water into the Geysers’ steam
reservoir, the City of Santa Rosa has found an environmentally sound discharge
solution and is helping to promote green power production in California, thereby
making the Santa Rosa Geysers Recharge Project (SRGRP), the world’s highest-
capacity geothermal power plant and also the world’s largest wastewater-to-
energy geothermal project and the ninth-largest wastewater reuse project in the
U.S (Leonard, 2005).
94 J.O. Odigie
Ikpoba River receives effluent from breweries, University of Benin
Teaching Hospital (UBTH) via their drainage system and the Oredo Local
Government owned abattoirs, located along the bank of the River. This continuous
discharge of wastes into the Ikpoba River could lead to the death of aquatic
organisms in the water bodies. The high level of untreated waste water discharged
directly into the River may reduce or totally render the water unfit for human and
industrial usage. The long term effects of a continuous pollution without proper
action will in turn result in eutrophication of the surface water. This act may also
exceed the River’s capacity to process raw waste. Furthermore, the majority of
people who rely heavily on the Ikpoba River for their daily activities would be
grossly affected. The risk for human health is greater because the release of raw
effluent into the River may possibly result in disease outbreak.
OBSERVATION AND DISCUSSION
The Ikpoba River is a fourth order (4
) stream flowing from north to south through
Benin City (Lat. 6.5°N, longitude 5 – 8°E) (Victor and Ogbeibu, 1985) and is
surrounded on both sides by the sloppy terrain of Ikpoba slope (Atuanya et al.,
2012). The River rises from the Ishan plateau in the east coastal plain to north east
of Benin City, with an elevation of about 230m above sea level (Benka-Coker and
Ojior, 1995). The Ikpoba River traverses the City before crossing the Benin-Agbor
road to join the Ossiomo River which eventually discharges into the Benin River.
Most of the activities around the upper reaches of the Ikpoba River are
agricultural, farming and fishing.
Importance of the Ikpoba River
The River serves as the drainage point for all runoff wastewater produced
industrially or domestically within the Benin metropolis and beyond as majority of
the drainage channels constructed by the State and Local Government within the
Benin metropolis aimed at controlling flooding and checking erosion are
channeled directly into the river at various points along the river length. Besides,
high economic activities taking place continuously on the waterfront ranging from
the river receives significant pollution from the economic activities like car wash,
washing of rugs, livestock markets, abattoir, a primary market known as the
Ikpoba Hill primary market (located about 200 metres from the waterfront),
laundry services, restaurants, household generated wastewater, wastewater from
industries (Guinness Nigeria Plc as a major industry in the area) and vehicle
servicing workshops. It is also not uncommon to see human faeces deposited
directly or indirectly at various points along the waterfront from the rural areas
where it is more prevalent down to the Benin metropolis. Water pollution from
highway runoff wastewater, whose most common contaminants are heavy metals
particularly lead, zinc, iron, chromium, cadmium, nickel, and copper (that result
from the ordinary wear of brakes, tires, and other vehicle parts), inorganic salts,
aromatic hydrocarbons, and suspended solids that accumulate on the road surface
as a result of regular highway operation and maintenance activities.
Wastewater disposal into water bodies 95
Fig. 1: Map of Nigeria showing geographic position of Edo state (A), Map of Edo
State showing the geographic position of Benin City (B) and Schematic Map
showing location of Ikpoba-river in Benin City, Nigeria (Ikhajiagbe et al., 2013).
Wastewater is increasingly being used for irrigation in urban and peri-urban areas
as well as in distant downstream rural areas of large cities in developing countries.
The practice of wastewater use in crop production is also common in Ethiopia, the
second most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Without adequate
safeguards, however, wastewater irrigation can cause serious drawbacks to public
health and the environment (Habbari et al., 2000). These active and negative
consequences of wastewater use challenge decision makers to identify practical
and affordable strategies for the safe use of wastewater that do not threaten the
various livelihoods depending upon it. Addressing this problem requires
identifying, assessing, and evaluating the negative and positive impacts of
wastewater use in crop production, based on a comprehensive analysis of
economic costs and benefits.
The use of wastewater for irrigation is associated with adverse effects on
farmers, public health, and the environment (Hussain et al., 2001, 2002). Farmers
are affected by direct contact with contaminated wastewater, and its use in
agriculture causes negative externalities both to public health through the
consumption of agricultural produce irrigated with wastewater and to the
environment by always polluting the groundwater and soils (Bond, 1999). In
Ethiopia, both domestic and industrial wastewater is discharged mostly untreated
into the nearby rivers, which are sources of irrigation water. Hence, smallholder
farmers cannot enforce their right to clean water, and have no control over the
96 J.O. Odigie
availability and quality level of the wastewater used for irrigation. Since farmers
in and around the cities depend on the use of wastewater for irrigation, adequate
policies are needed to ensure farmers can use it safely for crop production without
negative externalities to the health of consumers and the environment (Alebel et
Therefore, with increasing global population, the gap between the supply
and demand for water is widening and is reaching such alarming levels that in
some parts of the world it is posing a threat to human existence. Scientists around
the globe are working on new ways of conserving water. It is an opportune time,
to refocus on one of the ways to recycle water for the reuse of urban wastewater,
for irrigation and other purposes. This could release clean water for use in other
sectors that need fresh water and provide water to areas that can utilize
wastewater, e.g., for irrigation and other ecosystem services. In general,
wastewater comprises liquid wastes generated by households, industry,
commercial sources, as a result of daily usage, production, and consumption
activities. Municipal treatment facilities are designed to treat raw wastewater to
produce a liquid effluent of suitable quality that is disposed of in the natural
surface waters with minimum impact on human health or the environment. The
disposal of wastewater is a major problem faced by municipalities, particularly in
the case of large metropolitan areas, with limited space for land based treatment
and disposal. Moreover, wastewater is a resource that can be applied to productive
uses since wastewater contains nutrients that have the potential for use in
agriculture, aquaculture, and other activities. In both developed and developing
countries, the most prevalent practice is the application of municipal wastewater
(both treated and untreated) to land. In developed countries where environmental
standards are used, much of the wastewater is treated prior to use for irrigation of
fodder, fiber, and seed crops and, to a limited extent, for the irrigation of orchards,
vineyards, and other crops. Other important uses of wastewater include recharge
of groundwater, landscaping (golf courses, freeways, playgrounds, schoolyards,
and parks), industry, construction, dust control, wildlife habitat improvement and
aquaculture. In developing countries, tough standards are set; these are not always
strictly adhered. Wastewater, in its untreated form, is widely used for agriculture
and aquaculture and has been the practice for centuries in countries such as China,
India, and Mexico (Hussain et al. 2002). Thus, wastewater can be considered as
both a resource and a problem. Hussain et al. (2002), suggested that wastewater
and its nutrient content can be used extensively for irrigation and other ecosystem
services. Its reuse can deliver positive benefits to the farming community, society,
Conversely, Hussain et al. (2002) further indicated that wastewater reuse
also exacts negative externality effects on humans and ecological systems, which
need to be identified and assessed. Before one can endorse wastewater irrigation
as a means of increasing water supply for agriculture, a thorough analysis must be
undertaken from an economic perspective as well. In this regard, the
comprehensive costs and benefits of such wastewater reuse should be evaluated.
Conventional cost-benefit analysis quite often fails to quantify and monetize
externalities associated with wastewater reuse. Hence, environmental valuation
Wastewater disposal into water bodies 97
techniques and other related tools should be employed to guide decision-making.
Moreover, the economic effects of wastewater irrigation need to be evaluated not
only from the social, economic, and ecological standpoint, but also from the
sustainable development perspective.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Addressing the challenges faced from wastewater disposal into water bodies will
not only lead to the restoration of aquatic habitats in the State, but will also restore
fishing, recreational and other water activities and boost food production. The
establishment of the wastewater treatment plants will create jobs for various levels
of manpower (skilled and unskilled), as the State seeks active partnership with
private investors in order to harness her abundant human and natural resources,
leading to diversification of the economy. Wastewater management is a venture
worth investing in, as it has the potentials of complementing every sector of the
In view of the on-going, the challenges currently facing the Ikpoba River
is not peculiar to the water body. There is need to implement programs that will
help in checking and controlling these environmental hazards on short and long
term basis. The suggested control measures include:
1. Diversion of wastewater effluents from abattoirs located close to the Ikpoba
River by considering the use retention ponds and establishment of wastewater
treatment facilities within the States’ major urban towns and cities by the
Government or in partnership with the private sector.
2. Enlightening the public through the various media on the environmental
hazards of wastewater effluents. This will not only lower the toxic load of the
wastewater generated over time, it will also facilitate easy processing of the
wastewater using waste water treatment plants before such water can be
introduced into water bodies or the ecosystem.
3. Regulate the application of manure to farmlands by farmers that prefer the use
of organic waste from farm animals especially on sloping land susceptible to
runoff. The use of slow – release fertilizers on farmlands would minimize the
harmful effects of water runoff from rainfall into water bodies. Nitrates could be
supplied alternatively by the periodic planting of legumes, on the roots of which
grow bacteria that fix nitrogen in the soil. This practice reduces the need to apply
soluble synthetic fertilizers.
4. The practice of contour cropping on the vegetative slopes should be
encouraged. Plowing rows parallel to the contours of the hills and perpendicular to
the direction of water flow creates a ridged land surface that slows down the speed
of surface runoff water and reduces soil erosion. This will lead to increased
infiltration and enhance water conservation, as well as soil conservation.
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