Determination of the Physico-Chemical and Bacteriological quality of sachet water produced in Tumu, Ghana

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This study sought to assess the physico-chemical and bacteriological quality of sachet water produced by three manufacturers coded TWP-A, TWP-B and TWP-C, in Tumu in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region, Ghana. Three sample points were identified for each manufacturer; producer, wholesaler and vendor. Three samples were analysed for each point per month and replicated over three months. A total of eighty one (81) samples from the three companies were used for the test; nine from each point and twenty seven (27) from each company. Selected physico-chemical parameters (such as TDS, conductivity, colour, turbidity, temperature, sulphate, chloride, nitrate, calcium, magnesium, total hardness were determined by the use of analytical techniques) and bacteriological parameters (including total coliform, faecal coliform and E. coli) were tested by the membrane filtration method and pore plate techniques and analysed using ANOVA. With exception of the bacteriological parameters, all the physico-chemical parameters for all three manufacturers were within recommended WHO guideline values and GWCL standard. From the results of the analysis, TWP-A water samples were associated with the most bacterial growth ranging from 0-36 cfu/100 ml total coliforms, 0 12.67 cfu/100 ml faecal coliform and 0 3.33 cfu/100 ml E. coli. TWP B was next with 0 12.67 cfu/100 ml faecal coliforms growth and 0=3.33 cfu/100 ml E.coli growth (Table10). TWP C water samples were observed to have bacterial growth of 0 0.33 cfu/100 ml faecal coliforms and 0.00 cfu/100 ml E. coli (Table 11). TWP-C had the highest total coliforms (58.67 cfu/100 ml) for the producer water samples. Generally, this brand was associated with the least bacterial growth of 0.67 cfu/100 ml of faecal coliform, and no E. coli growths in all the twenty seven (27) tested samples (Table 12). In all cases, water from the vendor sample points was associated with the most bacteria growth. This was attributed to very low residual treatment chemicals in the water samples, which reduces along the supply chain, causing microbial populations previously existing as biofilms to soar. Thus, the bacteriological qualities of sachet water from the three brands were high and they could pose a health threat for consumers, especially those who patronise TWP-A sachet water. Generally, all the bacteriological parameters were above the recommended WHO guideline value and GWCL standard of 0.00 cfu/100 ml (Table 1).
A thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science.