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Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2016, Article ID 6025905, 13 pages
Research Article

Variations of the Physicochemical Parameters and Metal Levels and Their Risk Assessment in Urbanized Bagmati River, Kathmandu, Nepal

1State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
2Himalayan Environment Research Institute (HERI), Kathmandu, Nepal
3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4Laboratory of Green Chemistry, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Sammonkatu 12, 50130 Mikkeli, Finland
5CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
6Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, School of Science, Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Nepal

Received 14 July 2016; Revised 14 September 2016; Accepted 13 October 2016

Academic Editor: Franco Tassi

Copyright © 2016 Rukumesh Paudyal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


During post-monsoon 2013, surface water samples were collected form 34 sites from the Bagmati River and its tributaries within the Kathmandu Valley to assess the river water quality. The physical parameters were measured on site and major ions (Na+, , K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, Cl, , and ) and 17 elements in water were analyzed in the laboratory. Conductivity ranged from 21.92 to 846 S/cm, while turbidity ranged from 2.52 to 223 NTU and dissolved oxygen (DO) ranged from 0.04 to 8.98 mg/L. The ionic and elemental concentrations were higher in the lower section where the population density is high compared to the headwaters. The large input of wastewater and organic load created anoxic condition by consuming dissolved oxygen along the lower belt of the river. The concentration of the elements was found to be in the order of Mn > Zn > Ti > Rb > Cr > Cu > Sc > Ni > V > Li > Co > Mo > Cd > Y > Ga > Be > Nb. The concentration of Mn, Cd, Cr, Co, and Zn was particularly higher in urban and semiurban sections. Enrichment factor (EF) calculations for Cd, Co, and Zn showed their highly enriched values indicating that these elements originated from anthropogenic sources. Preliminary risk assessments were determined by the hazard quotient (HQ) calculations in order to evaluate the health risk of the metals. The values of elements were found to be in the order Sb > Mn > Cr > V > Co > Cd > Cu > Zn > Ni > Li > Mo with all averaged HQ values less than 1, indicating no or limited health risk of metals from the river to the local residence. However the values of Sb in some parts of the Bagmati were close to unity indicating its possible threat. Anthropogenic activities like industrial activities, municipal waste water, and road construction besides the river appear to control the chemical constituent of the river water. Overall the river was highly polluted with elevated concentrations of major ions and elements and there is a need for restoration projects.