The Impact of Za’atari Refugee Camp on the Water Quality in Amman-Zarqa Basin

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Za’atari camp is the largest refugee camp in Jordan. It was first established in 2012 to host Syrian refugees. Currently the camp hosts more than 81,000 refugees, with no proper sanitary system which might pose a major threat to surface resources in the area. An investigation was done at Za’atari refugees’ camp to find the impact of refugees settling on surface and groundwater quality. Surface water quality of surface runoff generated from thirty rain fall events were collected during the winter season of 2013/2014 from the major Wadi that passes through the camp and small ponds within the camp after the rainfall event. The collected samples were analyzed for acidity (pH), the electrical connectivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS), nutrients (NO3 and PO43-) and selected heavy metals (Mn, Cd, Zn, Pb and Ni) in addition to biological oxygen demand (BOD5), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and intestinal worms (Total Coliform, E. cali). The results showed that there are significant variations in the EC as well as with TDS between the sites due to fluctuating amounts of water used for different activities within the camp as it was highest in the center of the camp where most of the refugees settle decreasing away from the center. The pH values were within the specifications of the World Health Organization and the Jordanian Standards. For nutrients, nitrate concentration was low with high phosphate ions which are most probably from detergents origin.

Cite this paper

Al-Harahsheh, S. , Al-Adamat, R. and Abdullah, S. (2015) The Impact of Za’atari Refugee Camp on the Water Quality in Amman-Zarqa Basin. Journal of Environmental Protection, 6, 16-24. doi: 10.4236/jep.2015.61003.


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