Siloam’s groundwater is reportedly characterized by high fluoride. In response to the reported high incidence of dental fluorosis in the area, sources of elevated fluoride in the groundwater were investigated. Total fluoride (TF) was determined using Ion Chromatograph and Fluoride Ion Selective Electrode. The mineral composition of rocks and soils were determined using X-ray Fluorescence and X-ray diffraction, respectively. Results revealed that groundwater fluoride concentration ranged from 3.92 to 4.95 mg/L. Na-Cl water type was found to be dominant in the water samples. TF content of the rocks and soils ranged from 10 to 2000 mg/L. Leachates were obtained by making a slurry from the samples at a predetermined temperature and time. TF in leachates ranged between 0.27 and 14.88 mg/L and 0.05 to 10.40 mg/L at induced, and non-induced temperatures, respectively. The possible source of fluoride has been previously inferred to be caused by fluorite minerals occurring at greater depth. However, this study proves that fluoride decreases with depth and the elevated fluoride in the groundwater is caused by smectite-kaolinite clay, muscovite and chlorite minerals abundant in the area. Geothermal temperature exhibited by the groundwater in the area is a major factor enhancing the release of fluoride from the clay materials.
*Read full-text study online at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-93385-4