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Pelagia Research Library Der Chemica Sinica, 2015, 6(1):46-55

Fluoride concentration in ground water of Kalahandi and Nuapada District, Odisha, India

1* 2 3 4 Nilalakanth Dash , Smruti Prabha Das , Tanushree Patnaik , Simpi Bhaban Patel

4 and R. K. Dey

1Dept. of Chemistry, Panchayat College, Dharmagarh, Odisha, India 2Dept. of Chemistry, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, Odisha, India
3Dept. of Chemistry Stewart Science College, Cuttack, Odisha, India 4Centre for Applied Chemistry, Central University of Jharkhand, Jharkhand, India



The present study deals with ground water quality with respect to the fluoride content in water resources of Kalahandi and Nuapada districts of Odisha, India. Water samples were collected in different locations covering tap water, open wells, tube wells and river waters. Ground waters of tube wells are highly polluted with fluoride in comparison to open wells. In Nuapada district out of 4920 tube wells 399 contains 1.5-3.0 (mg/L) and 114 are from 3-5(mg/L) and 22 are from 5-6.5> (mg/L). A survey report shows 22557 people are affected with fluorosis and nearly 2 lakh people are in risk. In Kalahandi district Karalkot, Kerijhola and Binapur water supply contains objectionable fluoride content i.e. 3.88 mg/L. Dental fluorosis was observed among school children in Boden and Sonapalli blocks. In view of the severity of the problem the defluoridation techniques need to be evolved to reduce or minimize the fluoride concentration in drinking water.

Keywords: Ground water, Fluoride, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Odisha



The crucial role groundwater plays as a decentralized source of drinking water for millions rural and urban families cannot be overstated. According to some estimates, it accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the rural domestic water needs, and 50 per cent of the urban water needs in India.

Groundwater is generally less susceptible to contamination and pollution when compared to surface water bodies. Also, the natural impurities in rainwater, which replenishes groundwater systems, get removed while infiltrating through soil strata. But, In India, where groundwater is used intensively for irrigation and industrial purposes, a variety of land and water-based human activities are causing pollution of this precious resource. Its over-exploitation is causing aquifer contamination in certain instances, while in certain others its unscientific development with insufficient knowledge of groundwater flow dynamic and geo-hydrochemical processes has led to its mineralization[1,2]. Fluoride content in groundwater is mainly due to natural contamination, but the process of dissolution is still not well understood[3,4]. Fluoride, an electronegative element, is highly reactive, therefore, almost never occurs in elemental state in natural water. It combines with most of the elements to form ionic or


covalent fluorides. Areas with semi-arid climate, crystalline igneous rocks and alkaline soils are mostly affected[3]. The origin of fluoride in groundwater is through weathering of alkali, igneous and sedimentary rocks. The common fluoride bearing minerals are Fluorspar (CaF2), Cryolite (Na3AlF6), Fluor-apatite (Ca3 (PO4)2 Ca (FCl2). Fluorite (CaF2) is the principle bearer of fluoride and is found in granite, granite gneisses and pegmatite[5,6]. Apart from natural sources, a considerable amount of fluoride may be contributed due to anthropogenic activities. Burning of coal, manufacturing process of aluminium, steel, bricks, Phosphatic fertilizers industries, often contain fluoride as an impurity and are being leached down to the ground water[5,7,8,9]. The high level of fluoride in drinking water beyond the permissible limit[2] has toxic effects, while its optimum level shows beneficial effects in reducing dental carries. The severity depends upon the amount ingested and the duration of intake[10].

Fig-1: Kalahandi and Nuapada Districts of Odisha

Fluoride contamination of groundwater is a growing problem in many parts of the world. High concentration of fluoride is reported both from hard rock (granites & gneisses) as well as alluvial aquifers[11]. In India more than 66million people are at risk of developing fluorosis and high fluoride concentration in groundwater (greater than 1 mg/l) is widespread in the arid to semi-arid western states of Rajasthan and Gujarat and in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu[12,13,14,15]. People living in such areas were drinking high fluoride water without realizing its presence, which caused various bone diseases. The cause of high fluoride in ground water is geogenic being a result of the dissolution of fluoride bearing minerals. Fluoride in ground water is mainly influenced by the local and regional geological setting and hydro geological condition. However, soil consisting of clay minerals[16,17], the influence of local lithology, aided by other factors like semi-arid climate of the region may be responsible for higher concentration of fluoride in the groundwater of the region. In sea area, fluoride containing chemical components of Ca, Mg, Na, Cl, SO4, bicarbonate, Bromide, Phosphate, Iron, Aluminium etc., Locally used agricultural pesticides and anthropogenic contamination of surface water due to many rivers carry on particulate



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Nilalakanth Dash et al Der Chemica Sinica, 2015, 6(1):46-55 _____________________________________________________________________________

matter on rainy seasons. Fluoride problems are wide spread in nine states of India covering almost the entire country. Nearly 66million of people face the risk of which an estimated 6million are children. In view to look into the aspects of water quality and related health problems, the water quality date of Kalahandi and Nuapada districts of Odisha, India, are highly fluoride effected villages has been studied.


2.1 Study area

The study was undertaken in Kalahandi and Nuapada districts of Odisha. Initially, Nuapada District was a part of Kalahandi District till early March 1993, but for the administrative convenience, Kalahandi District was divided into two parts – Kalahandi and Nuapada under the state government Notification on 27th March, 1993.

The district of Kalahandi is located in south-west region of the state of Orissa. As regards geographical region, the

district is situated between 19 3’N and 20 18’N latitude and 82 20’E and 83 47’E longitudes. The district

headquarter town Bhawanipatna is situated at a distance of 418 kms from State Capital Bhubaneswar. The district is bounded on the north by Nuapada and Balangir districts, on the east by Kandhamal and Rayagada, on the south by Nabarangapur and Koraput districts, on the west by Raipur (Chhatisgarh) and Nabarangapur districts. Total geographical area of this district as supplied by the Surveyor General of India is 7,920 sq kms. The district ranked seven in this state of Orissa in comparison to other districts in terms of area.

Nuapada is a district of Orissa, India. Naupada district located in western part of Orissa, lies between 20° 0′ N and 21° 5′ No latitudes and between 82° 20′ E and 82° 40′ E longitudes. Its boundaries extend in the north, west and south to Raipur district in Madhya Pradesh and in the east to Bargarh, Balangir and Kalahandi districts. Its boundaries extend in the north, west and south to Raipur District in Chhattisgarh and in the east to Barhgarh District, Balangir District and Kalahandi district. This district is spread over in an area of 3407.5 sq kms. Generally, climate of Nuapada District is hot and dry; humidity is negligible with scanty rainfall.

2.2 Sampling

Drinking water samples were taken from different villages of Kalahandi and Nuapada districts (Fig-1). After the water samples were transported to the laboratory, fluoride analyses were performed immediately.

2.3 Determination of Fluoride

A combination fluoride electrode was used to determine the fluoride concentrations in drinking water, juice and bottled water samples. The samples and fluoride standard solutions were diluted 1:1 with the TISAB, The solutions, which contained 25ml of the sample and 25mL of TISAB solutions, were mixed with a magnetic stirrer for 3mins. The electrode potentials of the sample solutions were directly compared with those of fluoride standard solutions.


Environmental pollution due to fluoride contamination has serious consequences. Besides the immediately visible syndromes, the effect of this environmental problem can be a syndromes astheria, muscular atrophy, heartburn, joint pain, disfigured teeth, skeletal deformation, osteosclerosis and calcification of ligaments leading to such as hyphosis, stiffness of the spine and bony exostosis (Fig-2a,2b).

Dental fluorosis was observed in 76% out of the 622 children surveyed in the 9 selected villages. More than half the children (325) were suffering from mild dental fluorosis, while 132 were moderately afflicted and 15 were diagnosed with severe dental fluorosis. Skeletal fluorosis was observed in Bastipada and Khandhapada hamlets of Nuamalpada village and in Sukalpur village (Table-1).

Table-2 reveals fluoride concentrations greater than the accepted level of 1.5 mg/l in most of these sources. The highest fluoride concentration found in these sources is 4.0 mg/l in Nuamalpada village. The fluoride content varied from source to source in each village. It was much higher in groundwater sources (hand pumps and open wells) as compared to surface water sources. The high fluoride content in groundwater is probably due to the presence of underground fluoride bearing rocks. Seven villages, namely, Bakalikhuti, Tetelpada, Binapurpada, Putupada, Pharsera, Malpada and Jharbandh have higher concentrations of fluoride in handpumps compared to the open wells. The remaining 4 villages Sukalpur, Amguda, Numalpada and Belgaon have similar ranges of fluoride concentrations


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Nilalakanth Dash et al Der Chemica Sinica, 2015, 6(1):46-55 _____________________________________________________________________________
in the hand pumps and open wells. This indicates that the former villages contain fluoride in the upper strata rather than the deeper strata of underground rocks. Most of the open wells in these villages exhibited fluoride content below 1mg/L. It was interesting to note that most of these open wells were not used for drinking.


Fig-2(a): Skeletal Fluorosis

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Nilalakanth Dash et al Der Chemica Sinica, 2015, 6(1):46-55 _____________________________________________________________________________
Fig-2(b): Dental Fluorosis
Four grab samples were collected from tap water in Karalkot, Kerijhola, Binapur and Boden villages which were supplied with piped water by government agencies. The analysis revealed that three of the four samples had fluoride contents around 3mg/L or more. Three out of the four samples were from supplies withdrawn from deep bore wells. These points out that supplying water from deep bore wells may not be a viable solution to the problem. Fluoride concentrations were also monitored in Sundher, Indra and Patal Ganga rivers. All of them had fluoride content below 1mg /L. Hence, these surface water sources can be used for supplying drinking water, after treating them to remove bacteriological contamination (Table-3,4).


Fluorosis has spread its tentacles to 283 Villages in 65 Gram Panchayats under Golamunda, Bhawanipatna, Narla and Kesinga blocks during the last few years. Among 10,235 school children in the age group of five to fourteen years surveyed in these villages, 4984 were found to be affected by Dental Fluorosis of different degrees. While
2,966 were found to be suffering from Mild Fluorosis, 1,526 were in moderate category and 492 having severe
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Nilalakanth Dash et al Der Chemica Sinica, 2015, 6(1):46-55 _____________________________________________________________________________
problems (Table-5). According to the study, some of the severely affected villages are Dhamanpur, Khaliapali, Limser, Chahaka and Golamunda under Golamunda block, Suknabhata, Ghugurpala, Sargiguda, Ratanpur and Kamegaon villages under Narla block and Sagda, Deypur, Pokharighat, Gohirapadar and Gudialipadar villages under Bhawanipatna block.
Table-1: Dental Fluorosis Status among the Children (from 7 to 16 years age) in Villages Surveyed

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Name of Gram Panchayat

Total Children
Surveyed Mild Moderate +++

105 50 35 1 158 80 38 5 48 26 7 0 90 56 20 1 63 33 8 0 24 18 4 2

27 10 0 0 77 36 4 0 43 14 22 7

Total Nos. %
88 82 122 78 30 71 80 93 44 71 22 75
12 46 40 53 41 96

Name of Village
Baklikhunti Amguda Tentelpada Pharsara Putupada Sukalpur
Jharbandh Malpada Nuamalpada
Status of Different degree fluorosis

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S. No.
Block – Boden

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  1. 1  Pharsara
  2. 2  Khaira

Block – Senapali

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1 2
S. No
Jharbandh Nangalbod

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Table 2: Fluoride Concentration in Village Drinking Water Sources

Hamlet (Pada)
Padarpada Jhakarpada Amguda- Bastipada
Jhulapada Bandhpada Tetelpada
16 479 76
No. of Water Sources

635 323 138

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Range of Fluoride Concentration (mg/I)
W Hp Pond
Total No. %

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*Not found or monitored, W- Open well, Hp = Handpump

When fluoride is naturally present in drinking water, the concentration should not average more than 1.0mg/L. The Indian Council of Medical Research[18] has given the highest desirable limit of fluoride as 1.0mg/L and maximum permissible limit as 1.5mg/L. the Bureau of Indian Standards has recommended the limit of 1.5mg/L.[19] Manufacturers of products for internal consumption generally restrict the F concentration of water to about 1.0mg/L. the effect of F on livestock is same as in the case human beings and should not exceed 2.0mg/L, since excess concentration affects animal breeding and causes mottled teeth of the young animals (Table-6).


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Nilalakanth Dash et al Der Chemica Sinica, 2015, 6(1):46-55 _____________________________________________________________________________

Traditionally the people in Nuapada district had been using the water from open wells, tanks, riverbeds and hilly steams. Water borne diseases were very common in all the villages till very recent time. With the spread of deep tube wells, in many villages water related diseases have been very much under control. However, to the misfortune of the people in many villages even the tube well waters have been found to be contaminated with several minerals which are harmful to human health. Among such minerals iron contamination is very common. But presence of high quantities of fluoride in some tube well water has posed a very serious problem in this district.

The water quality was classified into 6 categories depending upon its fluoride concentration. The categories are as follows:

A total number of 4702 tube wells and 218 open wells were covered under the survey in all the 5 blocks of Nuapada district. The following table gives the block-wise distribution of wells. The above table shows that out of the 4920 wells and tube wells that were tested for the amount of fluoride contamination, 907 wells (both tube wells/open wells) were found to be having more than the permissible limit. The wells that contained higher quantity of fluoride were declared as very dangerous and it was resolved that the people will not drink water from these wells.

Karalkot water Supply Kerijhola Water Supply Binapur Water Supply Boden Water Supply
Fluoride Concentration (mg/I)
0.26 4.18 3.38 2.98
Table-3: Fluoride Concentrations in Tap Water Supply

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1 2 3 4
S. No.
1 2 3
Table-4: Fluoride Concentrations in rivers

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River – Indra near Rajna Village River- Sundar near Konabeer Village Patal Ganga, Natural Stream
Fluoride Concentration (mg/I)
0.45 0.50 0.42

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Table-5: Dental Fluorosis Facts in Kalahandi
(Report by Sahabhagi Vikash Abhiyan as on 18.11.09)

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S. No.
2 Kesinga
Status of Different degree of Fluorosis
Mild Moderate Severe
865 134 19 30 12 0 135 32 8 1936 1348 465
No. Percentage
1018 23.37% 42 51.85% 175 17.80% 3749 77.84%
Name of the block
No. of G.P .
29 2 11 23 65
No. of villages
145 4 52 82 283
Total school children
4355 81 983 4816 10235

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Narla Golamunda

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2966 1526 492 4984

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Table-6: Relationship between fluoride concentrations in drinking water and severity of fluorosis

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Severity of fluorosis
Non affected
Mild dental fluorosis Moderate dental fluorosis Severe dental fluorosis Skeletal fluorosis
Number of cases
17 109 61 13 30
Average fluoride conc. in drinking water (mg/1)
1.5 2.1 4.2 3.7 5.0

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Table-7: Affected Villages selected for studies

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Name of the blocks
Nuapada Komna Boden Khariar Sinapai Total
No. of GPs
29 27 14 18 21 109
No. of affected villages
24 93 53 24 20 214

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Nilalakanth Dash et al Der Chemica Sinica, 2015, 6(1):46-55 _____________________________________________________________________________
Sr. no.
No of tube wells/wells covered
Table-8: Blocks showing the tube wells with fluoride contents

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Name of the block
District total 4920 372 399 114 17 5
Table-9: Affected villages and Gram panchayat of Kalahandi district
Volume of fluoride found
1-1.5 1.5-3 3-5 5-6.5 >6.5 25 33 9 1 –

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5sinapali 660 18311140
Komna 1241 200 190 47 5 3 Boden 794 102 128 40 5 – Khariar 525 27 17 7 2 2

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Name of the blocks Nuapada Komna Boden Khariar Sinapai Total
Total no. of tube wells surveyed 1700
Affected Affected Affected wells GP villages
68 15 24 445 24 93 275 14 53 55 10 24 64 10 20 907 73 214
Population having high risk 20819 84870 49921 22566 13150 191326
Population already affected
Male Female Total 642 635 1275

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6562 5303
347 2728 6201 668 477 1145
1158 913 2071

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12503 10054

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Table-10: Fluoride Concentration and its effects

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Category Quantity(mg/liter)
Acceptable Minor risk Risky
Highly risky
V ery dangerous

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1 2 3 4 5 6
<1 1-1.7 1.5-4 3-6 5-6.7 >6.6

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A survey was undertaken in all the blocks to ascertain the spread and intensity of fluorosis. It also intended to find out the socio-economic condition of the affected people, their loss of income and assets and their current coping mechanisms. For this purpose all the villages in the 5 blocks of Nuapada district were covered.
Table-7 shows the total 109 G.Ps, 214 Villages were affected with fluoride. Out of which 93 from Komna block and 53 from Boden block were severely affected. Tubewells from Nuapada (1700), Komna (1241), Boden (794), Khariar (525) and Sinapali (660) were investigated for fluoride concentration. Out of 4920 tubewells 372 are in the safe range (1-1.5). 399 are moderately toxic (1.5-3.0), 114 tube wells are with high concentration (3.0-5.0) and 22 tubewells are with very high fluoride content (5-6.5>). On the whole 907 villages from 5 blocks were affected with fluoride in different concentrations (Table-8).
In another survey it was observed that male persons were prone to fluorosis in comparison to female. Nuapada district only 22557 are already affected and 191326 population having high risk of fluoride contamination (Table-9).
Traces of fluorides are present in many waters; higher concentrations are often associated with underground sources. In seawater, a total fluoride concentration of 1.3mg/L has been reported[20]. In areas rich in fluoride-containing minerals, well water may contain up to about 10 mg of fluoride per litre. The highest natural level reported is 2800 mg/L. Fluorides may also enter a river as a result of industrial discharges[20]. In groundwater, fluoride concentrations vary with the type of rock the water flows through but do not usually exceed 10 mg/L (Table-10).[21]
The environmental protection Agency[22] recommended a limit of 1.0mg/L of fluoride in irrigation water for continuous use, but up to 1.5mg/L of fluoride for short term use of fine soils. In Orissa ground water is generally quite safe for irrigation purposes and as such no care is required for use of phosphatic fertilizers except in few cases. The defluoridation process includes costly techniques like reverse osmosis and electro dialysis, and also the hit and trial method like deep bore wells, which are not suitable in rural areas. The Nalgonda technique is an economical way for defluoridation[23]. The Nalgonda technique using alum and lime is easily applicable at both the domestic and community levels provided the TDS of water below 1500mg/L and hardness below 250mg/L. Prescribed
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Nilalakanth Dash et al Der Chemica Sinica, 2015, 6(1):46-55 _____________________________________________________________________________
quantities of alum and lime are added to raw water and vigorously stirred when fluorides settle as floes. The treated water contains permissible amounts of fluoride.
High fluoride in ground water cause health hazard. In Odisha incidence of high fluoride content ground water (>1.5mg/L) is not uncommon in both shallow and deeper water bearing zones. Fluoride data analysis of tube wells, open wells and river water of villages blocks and gram panchayats ranges from 1-6 (mg/L). In majority of the cases 1-1.5 (mg/L) was prevalent. However large number of cases starting from school children to old age people affected with dental and skeletal fluorosis. Most of the ground water samples in study area were found within the drinking water quality standard. The study revealed that rock-water interaction is the major source of fluoride in ground water and very much influenced by local lithology.
Authors are thankful to Principal of Panchayat College (Dharmagarh) and Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, Odisha for providing necessary infrastructure facilities.
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