River Nworie in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria: A Public Health Hazard

Alex D. Acholonu


Nworie River is a river that traverses Owerri City, the capital of Imo State, Nigeria. It is of intense use by residents of Owerri and industries in its vicinity. This results in the discharge of various contaminants into it and thereby making it a health hazard, especially for people of low economic status who use it for drinking when public water supply fails. A previous study clearly established that Nworie River was facing substantial organic pollution. The purpose of this study was to reassess the pollution status of the river. During the month of May 2014, water samples were collected from Nworie River from three sites about 50 meters apart.  The water was tested physically, chemically, and biologically using LaMotte pollution test kits and Carolina bacterial pollution of water kit. Of the 12 chemical parameters tested, alkalinity, carbon dioxide, and phosphorus exceeded the Mississippi Water Quality Criteria/ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)/ WHO water quality standards while dissolved oxygen was low. Microbial pollution was evident from the coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli found. Based on the physical, chemical, and biological test results, the river was polluted and not potable. Dredging of the river that was started several years ago appears to have been abandoned and has rendered the water more polluted with the raking up of the pollutants that settled at the bottom of the river and may have caused the resurgence of water-borne disease agents. It is strongly recommended that the dredging be completed and the water quality improved in the interest of human health.


River Nworie, Owerri, Nigeria, Public Health.

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