Empirical Characterization of Heavy Metals in Crude Oil Spill Sites in Emohua, Rivers State, Nigeria


  •   Nnamdi Michael Ahiamadu

  •   Ify L. Nwaogazie

  •   Yusuf O. L. Momoh


The study assessed the concentration of heavy metals in three oil spill sites in Emohua local government area in Rivers State, Nigeria. Soil samples were collected at depth 0-30cm for surface soil samples and up to 10m for sub-surface soil samples depending on the depth of borehole. Groundwater samples were collected from drilled boreholes while the surface water samples were collected from fishponds or water bodies (rivers) close to the oil spill sites. The samples taken from the oil spill sites were analysed to determine the level of concentration of 10 Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) specified heavy metals (Cd, Zn, Cu, Pb, Cr, Ba, Ni, Hg, As, and Co). BUCK Scientific Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS) was used in detecting the concentration of the heavy metals. For the surface soil, Pb concentration in site A and B were significantly higher than what was obtained at site C, with a mean concentration of 219.70, 130.01 and 3.41mg/kg respectively for the three sites. The mean lead (Pb) concentration obtained in the surface soil was within DPR and United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) acceptable limits. Barium also has significant concentration in both the surface soil and sub-surface soil. Kruskal Wallis test indicated significant difference in the Pb, Cd, Zn, Cu, Cr and Ba concentration in surface/topsoil among the three sites and also indicated significant difference in the concentrations of Pb, Cd, Cr, Ni, Ba and As in sub-surface soil among the sites. Little heavy metal concentration was found in both the groundwater and surface water. The study showed that even if some heavy metals were detected at the oil spill sites, they do not pose any serious health risk, as all the heavy metals in the four environmental media at the three sampling sites were below the national limit stipulated by the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR), Nigeria.

Keywords: Concentration, Heavy Metals, Niger Delta Soil, pollution


E. S. Osuagwu, E. Olaifa, “Effects of oil spills on fish production in the Niger Delta,” PLOS ONE. 2018 Oct, 13(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205114.

J. Nriagu, E. Udofia, I. Ekong, and G. Ebuk, “Health Risks Associated with Oil Pollution in the Niger Delta, Nigeria,” Int J Environ Res Public Health, 2016 Mar, 13(3), 346. doi:10.3390/ijerph13030346.

B. Ordinioha, and S. Brisibe, “The human health implications of crude oil spills in the Niger delta, Nigeria: An interpretation of published studies,” Niger Med J., 2013 Jan; 54(1):10-6. doi: 10.4103/0300-1652.108887.

Amnesty International Nigeria: Petroleum, Pollution and Poverty in The Niger Delta. 2009 Available at: https:// https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/AFR44/017/2009/en/.

L. Osuji, and C. Onojake, “Trace Heavy Metals Associated with Crude Oil: A Case Study of Ebocha-8 Oil-Spill-Polluted Site in Niger Delta, Nigeria,” Chem Biodivers, 2004 Nov; 1(11):1708-15. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.200490129.

P. A. Essoka, A. E. Ubogu, and L. Uzu, “An overview of oil pollution and heavy metal concentration in Warri area, Nigeria,” Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, 2006, 17(2), 209–215. doi:10.1108/14777830610650519.

E. Chinedu, K. C. Chukwumemeka, “Oil Spillage and Heavy Metals Toxicity Risk in the Niger Delta, Nigeria,” J Health Pollut, 2018 Aug 21; 8 (19):180905. doi: 10.5696/2156-9614-8.19.180905.

N. Nwankwo, “Oil and environment pollution”, paper presented at the Conference on Strategies for the Fifth National Development Plan, NISER, Ibadan, November. 1984.

W. Koliander, K. Schreferl, “The Metal Content of Crude Oils and Its Influence on Crude Oil Processing”, paper presented at 16th World Petroleum Congress, 2000.

H. J. Duffus, “Environmental Toxicology”, Edward Arnold Publishers Limited, London, 1980 pp. 21-103.

L. Järup, “Hazards of heavy metal contamination,” Br Med Bull 2003; 68:167-82. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldg032.

N. O. Isirimah, Soils and Environmental Pollution Management. Owerri, Nigeria: Nichdano Publishers, 2000.

O. C. Nweke, W. H. Sanders III, “Modern Environmental Health Hazards: A Public Health Issue of Increasing Significance in Africa,” Environ Health Perspect, 2009 Jun;117(6):863-70. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0800126.

O. E. Orisakwe, J. L. Blum, S. Sujak, J.T. Zelikoff, “Metal Pollution in Nigeria: A Biomonitoring Update,” Journal of Health & Pollution, 2014 4(6). 40-52.

S. Dehez, Ibewa Hydrogeological Model Report. Submitted to Total E&P Nigeria, 2014.

A. P. Ugbomeh, D. A. Goodhead, A. Green, J. Onwuteaka, “Prevalence of Human Intestinal Nematode Parasites in Three Rural Communities of the Niger Delta, Nigeria,” AJOB, 2018, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 1-10.

WHO https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/lead-poisoning-and-health. 2018.

Population Reports , Population and the Environment: The Global Challenge, Series M. No 15, Population Information Programme, Baltimore, MD. 2000.

C. M. A. Iwegbue, F. E. Egobueze, K. Opuene, “Preliminary assessment of heavy metals levels of soils of an oil field in the Niger Delta, Nigeria,” International Journal of Environmental Science & Technology, 2006, 3(2), 167–172. doi:10.1007/bf03325921.

Meindingo and Agbalabga. Radioactivity concentration and heavy metal assessment of soil and water, in and around Imirigin oil field, Bayelsa state, Nigeria. Journal of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology 2011, Vol. 4(2), pp. 29-34. doi: 10.5897/JECE11.052.

Karbassi et al. “An investigation on heavy metals in soils around oil field area,” Global J. Environ. Sci. Manage, 2015, 1(4): 275-282. doi: 10.7508/gjesm.2015.04.002.

A. B. Khan, S. Kathi, “Evaluation of heavy metal and total petroleum hydrocarbon contamination of roadside surface soil,” International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 2014, 11(8), 2259–2270. doi:10.1007/s13762-014-0626-8.

O. N. Eucharia, L. Chuku, E. Ighoavwogan, “Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Selected Heavy Metals in Some Oil Polluted Sites in Delta State Nigeria,” Journal of Environmental Protection, 2016, 7, 1389-1410. doi.org/10.4236/jep.2016.710120.

F. F. Rastmanesh, F. R. Shalbaf, R. Moradi, A. Prinzhofer, “Health risk assessment of heavy metals in Ahvaz oilfeld using environmental indicators,” International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 2020, doi.org/10.1007/s13762-020-02811-z.

G. K. Tiller, Heavy Metals in Soils and Their Environmental Significance. Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989.


How to Cite
Ahiamadu, N. M., Nwaogazie, I. L., & Momoh, Y. O. L. (2021). Empirical Characterization of Heavy Metals in Crude Oil Spill Sites in Emohua, Rivers State, Nigeria. European Journal of Environment and Earth Sciences, 2(5), 24-28. https://doi.org/10.24018/ejgeo.2021.2.5.161