Impact of Pit Latrines on Groundwater in Some Selected Towns in the Tano Districts

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In resource-poor and low-population-density areas, on-site sanitation is preferred to off-site sanitation and groundwater is the main source of water for domestic uses. Groundwater pollution potential from on-site sanitation in such areas conflicts with Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles that advocate for sustainable use of water resources. Given the widespread use of groundwater for domestic purposes, maintaining groundwater quality is a critical livelihood intervention. This study assessed impacts of pit latrines on groundwater quality in some selected towns in the Tano districts, Ghana. Groundwater samples from 5 boreholes and 10 hand dug wells were analyzed during 4 sampling campaigns, in the latter part of March, 2011 and part of November, 2011. Parameters analyzed were total and faecal coliforms, E coli, Samonella, Enterococci, both for boreholes and hand dug wells. Depth from the ground surface to the water table for the seasons, dry and wet was determined for all sampling points using a tape measure. Soil from the monitoring wells was classified as clayey. The soil infiltration layer was taken as the layer between the pit latrine bottom and the water table. A questionnaire survey revealed the prevalence of diarrhoea .Results indicated that pit latrines were microbiologically impacting on groundwater quality even at 44.7m lateral distance. Salmonella were of no immediate threat to health. The shallow water table increased pollution potential from pit latrines. Raised and lined pit latrines and other low-cost technologies should be considered to minimize potential of groundwater pollution.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science (Environmental Science).