, Volume 184, Issue 5, pp 2691-2698
Date: 29 Jun 2011

Physicochemical and microbiological assessment of recreational and drinking waters

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The present study was aimed to make an assessment of health risk due to pollution and human pathogenic bacteria associated with the recreational and drinking water sources in twin densely populated holy Indian cities Ayodhya and Faizabad. Though physicochemical studies revealed that the water available in the area is under recommended limits for human use, it is unsafe on account of poor microbiological quality of surface and ground water in the region. The most probable number (MPN) test results revealed the preponderance of ≥2,400 total coliforms (TC) (100 ml) − 1 in river, pond, dug well and kund waters. Contrary to that, 94% tube wells, 32% hand pumps and 25% piped supply water were under safe limits having <3 TC (100 ml) − 1. The shallow depth (~40 ft), water logging and presence of septic tanks in the near vicinity are the possible reasons of poor microbial quality of hand pump drinking water. The municipal supply water passes along sewage line where loose connections and/or cracks in pipe lead to mixing and contamination. The significant best quality of tube well water evident from the absence of TC could be attributed to the depth of well ≥150 ft and usually their location away from the habitation. A total of 263 bacteria from 186 water samples were isolated, and at least five genera of enteric bacteria from various water sources were identified morphologically and biochemically as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella sp., Enterobacter sp., Shigella sp. and Salmonella sp. The serotyping of 72 E. coli and 36 Salmonella sp. revealed 51 as E. coli O157 and 20 as Salmonella sp. The presence of enteric pathogens in water sources pose threat to human health and therefore call for immediate remedial measures.