Faecal indicators in drinking water in the urban area of Kumasi

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Potable water should be odourless, tasteless, colourless and free from faecal pollution and chemical in harmful amounts. Without water there cannot be life on this planet. Fortunately there is plenty of water on the planet earth. Most of this water is, however, unavailable for human use due to a variety of factors including pollution. Living organisms can be used to monitor pollutants. Bacterial indicators are valuable in short term monitoring of water quality because they tend to respond quickly to environmental changes. In this survey, water samples from wells, taps, springs, streams as well as sachet water and water bagged in polythene from various suburbs in the Kumasi metropolis were tested for their levels of faecal pollution. The recorded ranges of colony forming units per 100 ml of water sample were as follows; 0 - 1 (sachet water), 0 - 28 (tap water) and 0 - 3000 (water bagged in polythene). For the untreated water sources, the Aboabo stream yielded the highest level of faecal pollution with 3.0 x i0 organisms per 100 ml. There was a dramatic rise in the level of faecal pollution of Atonsu and Anloga Wells following rainfall. A 45 and 40 fold rise were observed for Atonsu and Anloga Wells respectively. The various factors that contributed to these results include poor excreta and refuse disposal, poor state of wells, dirty water storage facilities, illegal connections and poor workmanship. To minimise the levels of faecal pollution of these supplies, therefore, particular attention must be paid to excreta and refuse disposal in the metropolis. Also wells should be properly constructed and maintained. Chlorine dosage for tap water treatment should be correctly calculated while at the same time subsequent pollution during distribution should be minimised.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science, 1999