Increasing Level of Ammonia in the Surface Raw Water Source at Dhaka, Bangladesh

Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 Department of Civil & Environmental Engg.(CEE), Shahjalal University of Science &Technology (SUST), Sylhet, Bangladesh

2 Suez International (Bangladesh Branch), Dhaka, Bangladesh


In 2004,ammonia concentration in raw water of Sitalakhya River at the eastern periphery of Dhaka was found higher than the expected rate of 4 mg/Lforecasted in feasibility studies,with a value of about 8 mg/L, which could not be removed by conventional treatment chain employed at Dhaka, hence, recentlyan ammonia removal plant has been constructed. This important background has ledto the current study on ammonia, a single quality parameter to understand the trend of deterioration, its probable causes, and the probable remedy.Water samples have been collected and tested for ammonia for a period of fifteen years, from 2002 to 2017, mostly in the laboratory of the existing plant. Ammonia levels have been found generally below 4 mg NH4-N/L in the wet season,though during the dry season they rise up to 20 mg NH4-N/L (sometimes more). The maximum and average values of concentration follow a more or less similar pattern with time, withboth average and maximum values, increasing around 1 mg/L annually,suggesting a similar trend in future which will make the existing treatment process inadequate. This needs attention in terms of both regulatory measures and proactive strategies on how to handle the resulting future challenges.


Uddin, A.F.M.A. and Baten, M.A. (2011). Water supply of Dhaka city: Murky future. (Dhaka: Unnayan Onneshan-The Innovators)

Biswas, B. and Hamada, T. (2012). Relation between Hazaribagh Tannery Industry Development and Buriganga River Pollution in Bangladesh.  Int. J. of Environ., 2(2); 117–127.

Begum, D.A. and Ahmmed, K.M.T. (2010, September). Water quality aspects in and around Dhaka city. (Proc. of International Conference on Environmental aspects of Bangladesh, Japan)

Bureau of Indian Standard. (2012). Drinking water - specification (second revision). (New Delhi: Bureau of Indian Standard)

BCEOM.  (1992). Dhaka emergency water supply project: Feasibility study. (Dhaka: BCEOM)

DWASA (1992). Saidabad site feasibility Assessment. (Dhaka:  Camp Dressers & McKee Int.)

DWASA (1994). Dhaka WASA IV project EIA study (Dhaka: BCEOM)

DWASA (2007). Joint Feasibility Study of Pre-treatment for water supply for the Saidabad Water Treatment Plant. (Dhaka: Grontmij/ CarlBro)

DWASA (2014). Saidabad WTP Phase-III Feasibility Study. (Dhaka: Egis, France and IWM, Bangladesh)

Department of Human Services. (2000). Technical Bulletin - Health Effects Information – AMMONIA. (Oregon: Oregon Department of Human Services)

Lytle, D. A., White, C., Williams, D., Koch, L., and Nauman, E. (2013). Innovative biological water treatment for the removal of elevated ammonia. J. of American Water Works Assoc., 105(9); E524-E539.

Degremont France. (2010). Preliminary Raw water quality monitoring Report Degremont Technical Department. (Dhaka: DWASA)

Degremont France. (2010). Raw water quality preliminary Report: Saidabad water treatment plant 2. Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Dhaka: DWASA)

Rahman, D. and Hadiuzzaman, M. (2005). Pollution status and trends in water quality of the Shitalakhya and Balu rivers. Dissertation, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)

Islam, D. and Azam, G. (2015). Seasonal variation of physicochemical and toxic properties in three major rivers: Shitalakhya, Buriganga and Turag around Dhaka city, J. of Bio. & Env. Sci. 7(3); 120-131.

EU (1975). Council Directives Concerning quality required of surface water intended for the abstraction of drinking water in the member states. (75/440/EEC).

Feig, S. (1981). Methemoglobinemia. (Nathan, D. G., and Oski, F. A. (Eds.). (1981). Hematology of infancy and childhood. (Chicago: Saunders Limited)       

GoB. (1995). Environmental Conservation Act. (Dhaka: Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh)

GoB. (1997). Environmental Conservation Rules. (Dhaka: Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh)

GOB and UNDP. (2010). Pollution Abatement Strategies for Rivers and Wetlands in and Around Dhaka City, Bangladesh. (Dhaka: Parliamentary Standing committee on Ministry of Environment & Forests)

Government of Malta. (2002). Quality requirement of surface water intended for the abstraction of drinking water. SL. 435.36.

Government of France.(2007). Journal official de la Republic Francaise . Texte 17 Sur 121, Decret, arretes, circulaires.

Hasan, H. A., Abdullah, S. R. S., Kamarudin, S. K., and Kofli, N. T. (2011). Problems of ammonia and manganese in Malaysian drinking water treatments. J. of World Appl Sci, 12(10); 1890-1896.

IWM. (2005). Assessment of the Water Quality of Lakhya River with special reference to the Intake point of Saidabad Water Treatment Plant. (Dhaka: IWM)

IWM. (2006). Resource Assessment and Monitoring of Water Supply Sources for Dhaka City. (Dhaka: DWASA)

Sabit, M.I. and Ali, M.A. (2015). Pollution of water bodies within and around Dhaka city: the Case of Gulshan lake. J. of Civil Eng. (IEB), 43(1); 29-39

Halder, J.N. and Islam, M.N. (2015). Water Pollution and its Impact on the Human Health. J. of Env. and Human. 2(1);36-46

Hasan, K. and Miah, M. (2014). Impacts of Textile Dyeing Industries Effluents on Surface Water Quality: A Study on Araihazar Thana in Narayanganj District of Bangladesh. J. of Env. and Human. 1(3); 8-22

Mahbub, K.R., Nahar, A., Ahmed, M.M. and Chakraborty, A. (2011). Quality Analysis of Dhaka WASA Drinking Water: Detection and Biochemical Characterization of the Isolates. J. Env. Sci. & Natural Resources, 4(2); 41-49

Rahman. M. (2010, April). Sustainable water Supply: A Tale of a Megacity. Proceedings (Paper presented at the International Symposium on Environmental Degradation and Sustainable Development ISEDSD, Dhaka)

Alam, M.N., Elahi, F. and Didar-Ul-Alam, M. (2006). Risk and Water Quality Assessment over view of River. Sitalakhya in Bangladesh. Academic Open Internet J (ISSN 1311-4360). 19

NHS, Scotland (2001). Chemicals in Drinking water: Chloramines.

Oregon Department of Human services. (2000). AMMONIA Health effects Information. (Oregon: Department of Human Services, Environmental Toxicology Section)

Quader, A.K.M.A.(2010, April). Wastewater treatment in textile industries for clean environment, Souvenir of the Twenty First Convention of Chemical Engineers of Bangladesh

Miti, S.S., Hossain, S.M.N. and Rahman, M.L. (2012). A study on the Industrial River Pollution in DEMDP area and planning Approaches. The Jahangirnagar Review, Part I.XXXIII(2009); 259-270

Serajuddin, M. (2002). Water Treatment at Saidabad Plant: State – of - the Art. ‘Engineering News’ Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB), 28(4)

Serajuddin, M. (2009, December). Issues, and challenges of water supply for a safer megacity -Perspective Dhaka. (Paper presented at the National Seminar on Engineers Role in developing a safer Megacity, Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB), Dhaka)

Serajuddin, M. (2011, March). Issues of Raw Water Quality in the Treatment of Drinking Water at Dhaka. (Paper presented at the International Conference on Environmental Technology & Construction Engineering, ICETCESD, Sylhet)

Serajuddin, M. (2012, December).  Saidabad Water Treatment Plant Phase II: A Remarkable Advancement towards Sustainability. Souvenir published by Dhaka Water Supply & Sewerage Authority on the occasion of inauguration of Saidabad Water Treatment Plant II.

Islam, S. (2011). Legal Issues of River Pollution through Industrial Effluents. Eastern University Journal. 3(3); 88-99

Biswas, S.K., Rahman, M.M., Bahar, M.A. and Debnath, S. (2015). Status of heavy metal in the peripheral rivers around Dhaka city. Int. J. of Sustainable Development. 8(2); 39-44

SIDA. (2006). Saidabad raw water quality and pollution control study, (Dhaka: SIDA)

Roy, S., Banna, L.N., Hossain, M. and Rahman, H. (2014). Water quality of Narai canal and Balu river of Dhaka City: An impact of Industrialization. J. of Bangladesh Agril. Univ. 12(2): 285–290

US EPA (2006). Drinking Water Standards and Health Advisories. (Washington DC: United State Environmental Protection Agency)

Water Security Agency (2017). EPB 431- Ammonia Fact Sheet. (Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment)

Water Security Agency. (2017). EPB 311- Strategies for dealing with groundwater treatment systems having high natural ammonia. (Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment)

Water Security Agency. (2015). EPB 356- surface water quality directives. (Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment)

Water Quality Association. (2013).  Ammonia Fact sheet. Illinois, USA.

WHO. (1996). Ammonia in drinking water: In Guidelines for drinking-water quality, 2nd edition, Vol. 2. Health  criteria and other supporting information. World Health Organization, Geneva.

WHO. (2011). Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, Fourth Edition.