Toward Decontamination in Coastal Regions: Groundwater Quality, Fluoride, Nitrate, and Human Health Risk Assessments within Multi-Aquifer Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia

Mohamed A. Yassin, Sani I. Abba, Syed Muzzamil Hussain Shah, Abdullahi G. Usman, Johnbosco C. Egbueri, Johnson C. Agbasi, Abid Khogali, Husam Musa Baalousha, Isam H. Aljundi, Saad Sha Sammen, Miklas Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contamination in coastal regions attributed to fluoride and nitrate cannot be disregarded, given the substantial environmental and public health issues they present worldwide. For effective decontamination, it is pivotal to identify regional pollution hotspots. This comprehensive study was performed to assess the spatial as well as indexical water quality, identify contamination sources, hotspots, and evaluate associated health risks pertaining to nitrate and fluoride in the Al-Hassa region, KSA. The physicochemical results revealed a pervasive pollution of the overall groundwater. The dominant water type was Na-Cl, indicating saltwater intrusion and reverse ion exchange impact. Spatiotemporal variations in physicochemical properties suggest diverse hydrochemical mechanisms, with geogenic factors primarily influencing groundwater chemistry. The groundwater pollution index varied between 0.8426 and 4.7172, classifying samples as moderately to very highly polluted. Similarly, the synthetic pollution index (in the range of 0.5021–4.0715) revealed that none of the samples had excellent water quality, with various degrees of pollution categories. Nitrate health quotient (HQ) values indicated chronic human health risks ranging from low to severe, with infants being the most vulnerable. Household use of nitrate-rich groundwater for showering and cleaning did not pose significant health risks. Fluoride HQ decreased with age, and children faced the highest risk of fluorosis. The hazard index (HI) yielded moderate- to high-risk values. Nitrate risks were 1.21 times higher than fluoride risks, as per average HI assessment. All samples fell into the vulnerable category based on the total hazard index (THI), with 88.89% classified as very high risk. This research provides valuable insights into groundwater quality, guiding water authorities, inhabitants, and researchers in identifying safe water sources, vulnerable regions, and human populations. The results highlight the need for appropriate treatment techniques and long-term coastal groundwater management plans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1401
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • fluoride contamination
  • groundwater quality monitoring
  • human health
  • hydrochemistry
  • multivariate statistical methods
  • nitrate contamination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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