Assessment of the Influence of Groundwater Level and Chemistry on Concrete Foundations Around Ifite Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria

  • Ogechukwu Anastasia Ben-Owope
  • Elizabeth Ifenyinwa Okoyeh
  • Michael Uchechukwu Anaekwe
Keywords: Groundwater level, Quality, Permissive limit, Concrete, Foundation


Water is a vital necessity for human existence; howbeit it has being a major concern over the years especially in the built industry where structural integrity has remained a mirage. Groundwater conditions especially the chemical composition and its potential attack on concrete foundations is paramount toward ensuring safe and economic design of structures. The presence of sulphate, chloride as well as pH above the permissible limits in groundwater may result to deterioration of either the concrete itself or the steel reinforcement. This condition if not checked overtime may ultimately lead to structural collapse resulting to loss of lives and properties. Also, increase in groundwater level can either delay or bring construction activities to abrupt end due to uncontrollable influx of water especially during excavation. Thirty water samples were collected from wells and boreholes in different locations within the study area and subjected to chemical analysis in accordance with NIS, BS, DIN and WHO standards to determine their level of aggressiveness on concrete foundations. Six wells were also monitored to determine the extent of groundwater level fluctuation. The result of the analysis indicated a pH value of 4.8 to 10.6 with mean temperature of 25.48°C. Seven out of 30 samples tested for iron exceeded the permissive limit. The sulphate value ranges from 10 to 230 mg/l while chloride content is from 10 to 180 mg/l among others. The groundwater level monitoring revealed a seasonal pattern of fluctuation influenced by rainfall. It is recommended that precautionary measures be taken against groundwater conditions and its effect on concrete foundations in the study area and should be considered at the design stage.


Adewole, K.K., Ajagbe, W.O., Akintayo, F.O., 2015. Suitability of Nigerian Portland-limestone cement grades for building’s concrete structural members in various exposure classes. Leonardo Electronic Journal of Practices and Technologies 27, 198-213.

Akinsola, O.E., Fatokun, A.O., Ogunsanmi, OE., 2012. Investigation of Salinity Effect on Compressive Strength of
Reinforced Concrete. Journal of Sustainable Development 5 (6), 74-82.

BS EN 1008, 2002. European Standard for testing Mixing water for concrete. Published by European Committee for Standardization pp. 1-21.

Chiaghanam, O.C., Chiadikobi, K.C., Ikegwuonwu, O.N., Omoboriowo, A.O., Onyemesili, O.C., Yikarebogha, Y., 2014. Sedimentology and Sequence Stratigraphy of the Eocene Nanka Formation (Ameki Group): An Evaluation of Ogbunike Reference Locality in Anambra Basin, South-Eastern Nigeria. Journal of Applied Geology and Geophysics 2 (3), 1-10.

DIN 4030-1 E, 1991. Assessment of Water, Soil and Gases for Their Aggressiveness to Concrete: Principles and Limiting Values. German Institute for Standardization, Deutsches Institutfür

Egboka, B.C.E., Nfor, B.N., Banlanjo, E.W., 2006. Water Budget Analysis of Agulu Lake in Anambra State, Nigeria. Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management 10 (3), 27-30.

Enaworu, E., Ugbe, F.C., Rotimi, O.J., Ameloko, A.A., 2017. Geochemistry and Geotechnical Analysis of Lateritic Soils in the Anambra Basin. Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering 22 (11), 4395-4413.

Ezeabasili, A.C.C., Okoro, B.U., Okonkwo, A.U., 2014. Assessment of Water Supply Quality in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. International Journal for Science and Technology 3 (3), 81-93.

Fetter, C.W., 2001. Applied Hydrogeology. 4th ed. New Jersey. Prentice Hall pp. 2-8.

Franke, W., Balonis-Sant, M., Oey, T., Sant, G., 2014. The Fate of Nitrate ions in Concrete under the focus of Corrosion Inhibitors. Published in the 2nd International Conference on the Durability of Concrete as paper No: 9 (4), 6.12.2014, New Delhi, India, pp. 1-10.

Kabashi, N., Krasniqi, C., Sadikaj, A., Bublaku, S., Muriqi, A., Morina, H., 2017. Corrosion in Concrete Under Sulphate and Chloride Attacks. 1st International Conference on Construction Materials for Sustainable Future, Zadar, Croatia. 19-21 April 2017, 1-8.

Kucche, K.J., Jamkar, S.S., Sadgir, P.A., 2015. Quality of Water for Making Concrete: A Review of Literature. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications 5 (1), 1-10.

Murat, R.C., 1970. Stratigraphy and paleogeography of the Cretaceous and Lower Tertiary in Southern Nigeria. In: Dessauvagre, T.F.J., Whitema, A.J., Eds., Africa Geology, Ibadan University Press, Ibadan, pp. 251-268.

NIS, 2015. Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS-554). Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality. Approved by Standard Organization of Nigeria pp. 1-28.

Nwajide, C.S., 2013. Geology of Nigeria’s sedimentary basins. CSS Bookshop pp. 347-518.

Obiadi, I.I., Ajaegwu, N.E., Nwosu, C.M., Ezim, O.E., 2011. Gully Erosion in Anambra State,South East Nigeria: Issues and Solution. International Journal of Environmental Sciences. 2 (2), 795-804.

Ofomata, G.E.K., 1975. Soil in the eastern states of Nigeria. In: Nigeria in maps; Eastern States. (Edited by Ofomata, G.E.K.), Ethiope Publishers, Benin, 43-45.

Ofusu, B., Mensah, F.A., Nyako, S.O., Akayuli, C.F.A., Opuni, K.O., Bartarya S.K., 2014. Potential Chemical attack on Concrete Foundations Due to Groundwater Chemistry. 7thInternational Applied Research Conference at Korforidua Polytechnic, Ghana, 230-235.

Okoro, E.I., Egboka, B.C.E., Onwuemesi, A.G., 2010. Evaluation of the Aquifer Characteristic of Nanka Sands using hydrogeological method in combination with Vertical Electrical Sounding (VES). Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management 14 (2), 5-9.

Olorunfemi, K.O., Ibiwoye, E.O., Adeleke, D.J., 2017. Assessment of the Effect of Underground Water on Civil Engineering Structures - A Case Study of Gaa-Odota, Ilorin. International Conference of Science, Engineering & Environmental Technology (ICONSEET) 2 (21), 161-167, October 2017.

Onunkwo, A.A., Onyekuru, S.O., Opara, K.D., Ikechukwu, U.F., 2017. Assessment of the Concentration of Inorganic Chemical Elements in the Pollution Status of Water Boreholes in Awka- Anambra Sedimentary Basin, SE, Nigeria. Environmental Management and Sustainable Development 6 (1), 168-183.

Preene, M., Roberts, T.O.L., Powrie, W., Dyer, M.R., 2000. Groundwater Control-Design and Practice. Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), Westminster, London, 21-50.

Price, G.G., 2009. Engineering Geology: Principles and Practice. Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 234-245.

Rahardjo, H., Satyanaga, A., Leong, E.C., Y.S.N., 2010. Effects of Groundwater Table Position and Soil Properties on Stability of Slope during Rainfall. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering 136 (11), 1555-1564.

Reyment, R.A., 1965. Aspects of the geology of Nigeria: the stratigraphy of the Cretaceous and Cenozoic Deposits. Ibadan University Press pp. 145.

Sawyer, C.N., McCarty, P.I., 1967. Chemistry for Sanitary Engineers. 2nd ed. New York, McGraw Hill pp. 518.

Stipho, A.S., 1993. The Impact of Rising Ground Water Level on the Geotechnical Behavior of Soil in Hot Climate Regions. Third International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering, St. Louis, Missouri, Paper No: 8.05.1993, at website: 3icchge/3icchge-session08/11.

Todd, D.K., Mays, L.W., 2005. Groundwater Hydrology. New York. John Wiley & Sons, 113-130.WHO, 2011.World Health Organization. Guidelines for drinking water quality: Recommendations Geneva, Switzerland pp. 1-33.