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Environmental Engineering Research 2019;24(2): 279-288. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2018.178
Application of multivariate statistics towards the geochemical evaluation of fluoride enrichment in groundwater at Shilabati river bank, West Bengal, India
Arghya Ghosh, and Sandip Mondal 
Department of Earth and Environmental Studies, National Institute of Technology Durgapur, Mahatma Gandhi Avenue, Durgapur, State: West Bengal, Pin-713209, India
Corresponding Author: Sandip Mondal ,Tel: +91-9434789021, Email: san.mondal@gmail.com
Received: May 21, 2018;  Accepted: July 31, 2018.
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To obtain insightful knowledge of geochemical process controlling fluoride enrichment in groundwater of the villages near Shilabati river bank, West Bengal, India, multivariate statistical techniques were applied to a subgroup of the dataset generated from major ion analysis of groundwater samples. Water quality analysis of major ion chemistry revealed elevated levels of fluoride concentration in groundwater. Factor analysis (FA) of fifteen hydrochemical parameters demonstrated that fluoride occurrence was due to the weathering and dissolution of fluoride-bearing minerals in the aquifer. A strong positive loading (> 0.75) of fluoride with pH and bicarbonate for FA indicates an alkaline dominated environment responsible for leaching of fluoride from the source material. Mineralogical analysis of soli sediment exhibits the presence of fluoride-bearing minerals in underground geology. Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) was carried out to isolate the sampling sites according to groundwater quality. With HCA the sampling sites were isolated into three clusters. The occurrence of abundant fluoride in the higher elevated area of the observed three different clusters revealed that there was more contact opportunity of recharging water with the minerals present in the aquifer during infiltration through the vadose zone.
Keywords: Factor analysis | Fluoride | Groundwater | Hierarchical cluster analysis
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