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

Sobia Ashraf, Farhat Abbas, Muhammad Ibrahim, Umer Rashid, Shoaib Khalid, Hammad Raza Ahmad, Khalid Rehman Hakeem, Tahir Majeed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-235
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geographical Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Faisalabad
  • groundwater contamination
  • heavy metals
  • pollution mitigation


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