Analysis of water bodies, such as rivers and lakes can provide an insight into their intrinsic composition and potential impact on the environment. Water samples collected from four designated sites in Idah River, were assessed for their physicochemical parameters and microbial diversity using standard procedures. The temperature from all sites was 26.00°C and the pH ranged from 6.93 to 7.08. Turbidity values ranged between 32.00 and 38.00 NTU, while dissolved oxygen ranged between 6.28 and 9.28 ppm. Heavy metals, such as Selenium and Arsenic (with peak values of 0.10 and 0.09 ppm, respectively) were detected in the river. However, dissolved oxygen, arsenic and turbidity values across all sites exceeded the maximum limit set by World Health Organisation and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria. The total heterotrophic bacterial counts showed excessive bacterial load from all sample sites, while pathogenic bacteria, including Escherichia coli, Klebsiella and Shigella species, were isolated from regions with intense anthropogenic activities along the river, indicative of microbial pollution. Fungal studies identified the presence of Fusarium, Aspergillus and Trichoderma species as the most abundant in the river. Obtained results showed that Idah River is exposed to heavy metal seepage and subject to microbial contamination. Therefore, continuous monitoring and better management of the river body is recommended to prevent disease outbreak.
Key words: Aquatic ecosystems, Idah River, microbial diversity, physicochemical analysis.
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