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Investigation of a fecal contamination of groundwater and surface water at Al Wasit Nature Reserve, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Samara, Fatin
Ali, Tarig
Haverila, Jenny
Knuteson, Sandra
Domestic waste contamination has adverse health effects and detrimental ecological impact. This paper presents the results of an investigation of domestic waste contamination; specifically fecal contamination of ground and surface water in Al Wasit Nature Reserve in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE). This reserve, which comprises a broad hyper-saline wetland expanse on the outskirts of the city, is polluted due to chemical and organic waste dumping, perennial inundation, and sewage disposal, among others. A total of five ground and ten surface water samples were collected from the reserve in September, October and November of 2009, respectively and analyzed for major water quality parameters such as pH, chloride, Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), total coliforms and E. coli. To help understand the spatial distribution of these parameters in the reserve, GIS representations were created in ArcGIS 10.1. Analysis results suggest no significant fecal contamination in groundwater in the reserve. However, there was evidence of fecal contamination in surface water, which is not believed to be from domestic sources. The results of this study support the decision by the Sharjah Municipality, to declare Al Wasit Nature Reserve a protected area.