Seasonal and spatio-temporal distribution of faecal-indicator bacteria in Tyume River in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
We assessed the incidence of faecal-indicator bacteria in Tyume River over a 12-month period between August 2010 and July 2011. Total coliforms, faecal coliforms and enterococci were determined by the membrane filtration method. Total coliforms were detected in counts ranging from 2.1 × 102 to 3.4 × 104 CFU/100 ml. Faecal coliform counts ranged from 1 × 102 to 1.6 × 104 CFU/100 ml while enterococci counts were in the range of 3.3 × 101 to 5.1 × 103 CFU/100 ml. Indicator bacteria counts increased from upstream to downstream sampling sites. Counts of indicator bacteria at all sites were significantly affected by seasonal changes. The bacteriological qualities of the river water were poor, exceeding the guideline of 200 CFU/100 ml and 33 CFU/100 ml for faecal coliforms and enterococci, respectively, for recreational water. Faecal coliform counts also exceeded the 1,000 CFU/100 ml guideline for water used in fresh produce irrigation. Microbial source tracking results showed that faecal pollution was predominantly of human origin during spring at all sampling sites. During other seasons, human faecal pollution was largely confined to midstream and downstream sampling sites. Generally, the presence of faecal-indicator bacteria in the river water samples suggests faecal pollution of this freshwater resource, raising the possibility of the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in the water and a threat to public health.
KeywordsTotal coliforms Faecal coliforms Enterococci Pollution Public health
The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa for funding this research.
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