Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2015, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (2): 225-235.doi: 10.1007/s11442-015-1164-0

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Application of GIS for the identification and demarcation of selective heavy metal concentrations in the urban groundwater

ASHRAF Sobia1, ABBAS Farhat1,*(), IBRAHIM Muhammad1, RASHID Umer2(), KHALID Shoaib3, Raza AHMAD Hammad4, Rehman HAKEEM Khalid5, MAJEED Tahir6   

  1. 1. Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Government College University, Faisalabad (38000), Pakistan
    2. Institute of Advanced Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, UPM Serdang 43400, Selangor, Malaysia
    3. Department of Geography, Government College University, Faisalabad 38000, Pakistan
    4. Institute of Soil & Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan
    5. Faculty of Forestry, University of Putra Malaysia, Serdang 43400, Selangor, Malaysia
    6. Institute of Soil Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI), Jhang Road, Faisalabad;
  • Received:2014-01-27 Accepted:2014-05-15 Online:2015-02-15 Published:2015-02-15
  • Contact: ABBAS Farhat;
  • About author:

    Author: Ye Yuyao (1980-), PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in sustainable regional development and urban planning.


Groundwater is the most appropriate and widely used source of drinking water, which is increasingly threatened by pollution from industrial and agricultural activities. To check the severity of the problem, 156 groundwater samples were collected from various depths (60-110 ft) of 52 different localities in Faisalabad city, the third largest metropolis in Pakistan, and analyzed for the metals (Zn, Cu, Cd, Ni, Pb, Mn and Fe) concentration in 2009. Quantification was done by using Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer technique and the results were compared with WHO standards for drinking water quality. Results showed that the levels of Cu, Mn and Fe were below the WHO standards while the concentrations of Zn, Cd, Ni and Pb were above the recommended levels of safe drinking water. Correlation analysis among the occurrence of these heavy metals revealed a highly significant and positive correlation of Mn with Zn and Fe. A significant and positive correlation of Cd was also found with Cu and groundwater depth showing that there is strong association between Cu-Cd pair and that the Cd concentration varies with depth of groundwater in the study area. Regional patterns of heavy metals occurrence were mapped using Geographical Information System (GIS) for the identification and demarcation of risk areas. The concentration maps may be used by policymakers of the city to mitigate groundwater pollution.

Key words: heavy metals, groundwater contamination, Faisalabad, pollution mitigation