Comparative Studies on the Effects of Moringa Oleifera in Improving Water Quality for Some Communities in Sekyere South District

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The high cost of treating drinking water makes most poor people in the rural communities resort to readily available sources which are mostly polluted, thus, exposing them to waterborne diseases. It is in this light that this research was carried out to confirm the effectiveness of powder extracted from mature-dried Moringa oleifera seeds, a cheap and readily available local coagulant, on water quality in four communities in the Sekyere South District. Water samples from two streams and two hand dug wells from four communities were treated with Moringa oleifera seed extract as coagulant using jar test. The quality of treated water was analyzed and compared with alum treated water. Five millilitres (5ml), 10ml, 15ml and 20ml concentrations of seed extract were used and their results compared to that of 0.2ml, 0.4ml, 0.6ml and 0.8ml concentrations of alum. A control (water without alum and Moringa treatments) was also included. The pH, turbidity, total dissolved solids, conductivity and microbial counts were measured at three different time intervals (0, 12 and 24 hours). Efficient turbidity reduction was observed at 20 ml and 10 ml concentrations of Moringa for stream and well water from an initial value of 24.59 NTU to 5.09 NTU and 13.17NTU to 5.48NTU respectively after 24 hour settling time. Alum concentration of 0.4ml reduced turbidity to 3.32 NTU for stream water and 3.0 NTU for well water. Total dissolved solids and conductivity gradually increased for both alum and Moringa with increasing concentrations but fell within the recommended drinking water standard. Moringa concentrations did not influence pH of water. pH values were observed to range between 7.29 to 6.27 for stream water and 7.05 to 6.06 for well water, however, alum concentrations reduced pH to acidic levels. Bacterial removal range of 61% and 68% was observed for 20ml Moringa concentration for streams whereas alum concentration of 0.8ml recorded 75% and 80% bacterial removal. Well water recorded percentage bacterial removal range of 57% and 54% for 15ml Moringa concentration as compared to the removal range of 69% and 74% recorded by alum at the 12 hour treatment period. Findings from this study indicate that Moringa oleifera, a natural coagulant, can be a potentially viable substitute to alum in treatment of water.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science