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MICROBIAL ASSESSMENT OF QUARRY PIT WATER

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MICROBIAL ASSESSMENT OF QUARRY PIT WATER

 

ABSTRACT

 

Water samples were collected from four different hand-dug wells designated as W1, W2, W3 and W4 from Oyi and Igbariam communities in Anambra state. 4 samples were taken from each location making a total of 12 samples on each day. Water samples were taken at 7days interval for 42 days for bacteriological analysis. The mean range was 6-190 MPN per 100 ml for total coli forms and 3-92 MPN per 100 ml for faecal coliforms. The highest count was consistently found in Well (W2) located in Borrong (located near stagnant water). The findings showed that the water from all the wells in the study area did not meet the World Health Organization (WHO) standard for drinking water and thus, the water should be treated before drinking.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Water, after air, is the most essential commodity to the survival of life. Human life depends to a large extent, on water. It is used for an array of activities; chief among these being for drinking, food preparation, as well as for sanitation purposes. Inasmuch as safe drinking water is essential to health, a community lacking a good quality of this commodity will be saddled with a lot of health problems which could otherwise be avoided (Miller, 1997).

Water is a fundamental resource, integral to all environmental and social processes. Access to adequate safe drinking water is of prime importance to many governmental and international organizations since undebatably it is the core component of primary health care and a basic component of human development as well as a precondition for man’s success to deal with hunger, poverty and death (SOPAC/WHO, 2005). There is a growing concern everywhere that in the coming century, cities will suffer imbalances in quality water supply, consumption, and population. Many regions of the world are already limited by the amount and quality of available water.

According to World Health Organization (WHO, 2002), in the next thirty years alone, accessible water is unlikely to increase more than ten percent (10%) but the earth’s population is projected to rise by approximately one-third. Unless the efficiency of water use rises, this imbalance will reduce quality water services, reduce the conditions of health of people and deteriorate the environment and the world.

The world’s population size and the rapid urbanization growth is increasingly a major issue in the world especially in developing countries. Cairncross (2002), showed that about 74% of the urban population in the developing world had access to safe water, the figure increased to about three hundred million (79%) in 1985 partly because of the International Water Decade which was an improvement, however, there were still 21% of the people who were still not having access to safe water.

The rapidity with which cities are growing is frightening in the sense that human population with its associated sanitation problems will grow faster than increases in the amount of accessible quality water (Jackson et al, 2001). This means that per capita availability of quality water will decrease in the coming century.  Although, many international conferences as well as researches have gone on in the past, little by way of success has been chalked so far. Report from World Health Organization (2002) indicates that over 2.6 billion people were still suffering from the effect of poor water around the world.

It is based on this that Heads of states and governments met and signed the Millennium Declaration at the 2000 UN Millennium summit to end the sufferings from the effects of poor water quality across the globe, as a matter of urgency (WHO, 2002).

The growing demands for adequate quality water resources create an urgent need to link research with improved water management, better monitoring, assessment, and forecasting of water resources and sanitation issues with much emphasis on the roles of stakeholders (Yamaguchi & Wesselink, 2000). It must however be emphasized that adequate water quality needs seem to have improved greatly in some regions and countries especially in the developed world but for poor nations this is still a major issue (Stockholm International Water Institute, SIWI, 2001). As observed by WHO-UNICEF (2004), while in 2002, countries like Japan, Australia, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden had achieved hundred percent, others, such as countries in sub Saharan Africa are far below 50%. For instance, Guinea 6%, Liberia 7%, Niger 4%, Togo 15%, and Ghana 46%.

According to Sarpong (2002), the main source of water in these regions includes untreated rain water from roofs, polluted rivers and streams, unprotected wells and bore holes. He went further to show that there is little to choose between sub Sahara rural and urban since the rural to some extent has only to deal with the quality while the urban has both the quantity and quality to deal with.

Water related health problems are a growing human tragedy, and according to WHO (2003), it kills more than 5 million people a year with infants being the most affected. This figure seems to be the highest as compared to wars and disasters (UNESCO, 2003). The problems also prevent millions of people from leading healthy lives, and undermine developmental efforts by burdening the society with substantial socio-economic costs for treatment of water-borne diseases. This problem is of great significance in cities in developing countries, where polluted water, water shortages, and unsanitary living conditions prevail.

Information from WHO (2002), WHO/UNICEF (2004) says although access to water has improved greatly, access to safe water is still a major issue. The source quoted that about some 1.1 billion people rely on quarry water sources in Nigeria (58%) with a corresponding low sanitation coverage rates (36%) which leads to many deaths especially among children through diarrhea among other water-related diseases. To meet the 2015 target of the United Nations Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) on access to safe drinking water therefore, will require that countries create the political will and resources to manage water especially in growing urban cities in sub Saharan Africa (Bain, Gundry, Wright, Yang, Pedley & Bartram, 2011).

Sources of water available to mankind are: atmospheric water (precipitate), surface water (including rivers, streams, ponds, etc), and quarry water. The potability of water from any of these sources is determined by the water quality (Miller, 1997).

With 97% of all freshwater found on the earth being stored underground, accessing quarry water in the quest for potable water is a laudable venture. Quarry water is accessed by way of sinking wells and boreholes to reach the water table (Overseas Development Institute, 2009).

Water-related diseases are responsible for 80% of all illnesses/death in developing countries (UNESC0, 2007). According to Kalua and Chipeta (2005) as cited in Pritchard, Mkandawire, and O’Neill (2008), in Malawi, only 65% of the population have access to safe drinking water and 50% of all illnesses are solely due to water related diseases. Water is a medium of thousands of microorganisms, some of which are disease-causing (Schaffter & Parriaux, 2002).

A typical example can be seen in the facts of the matter as it pertains in Malawi and reported by several researchers (Chilton & Smith-Carington, 1984; Kalua, & Chipeta, 2005; Sajidu, Masamba, Henry & Kuyeli, 2007). The mortality rate in Malawi in 2002 from cholera was over 50% of the water-related deaths. During the 2001/2002 rainy season, 33,150 cholera cases and 980 deaths were recorded in Malawi (Davis, 2005). Globally, 4 billion cases of diarrhoea are reported every year causing 1.8 million deaths, out of which about 90% are children under age five (UNESCO, 2007).

Potable water is defined as water that is free from pathogens, low in compounds that are acutely toxic or that have grave long-term effects on human health (Shlutz and Okun, 1984). Potable water should be free from compounds that can cause change in the ‘normal’ colour, taste (e.g. high salinity) and odour. Shallow wells are normally located in valleys where the quarry water table is relatively high (1 – 4 m below ground level) and infiltration of rain and river water plays a main part in the quarry water recharge. Boreholes however, draw water from deep (20 – 80 m or more) aquifers (Pritchard, Mkandawire & O’Neil, 2008).

Indicator organisms are commonly used to assess the bacteriological quality of water. Fecal coliforms and fecal streptococci are the most commonly used bacterial indicators Fecal coliforms and fecal streptococci are the most commonly used bacterial indicators of fecal pollution. They are found in water that is contaminated with fecal wastes of human and animal origin.

The ratio between fecal coliforms and fecal streptococci gives a fecal index, which

indicates the origin of pollution (human, animal or mixed). Total coliforms comprise bacterial species of fecal origin as well as other bacterial groups commonly occurring in soil. The coliforms are indicative of general hygienic quality of the water and potential risk of infectious diseases from water. High FC and TC count s in water are also indi cat ive of presence of enteropathogens in the water (Fatoki et al., 2001).

In view of this, the parameters selected will give the information about the quality of quarry water.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Pathogens as well as life threatening chemicals get to pollute the quarry water system through leaching. When such polluted quarry water is sourced for human consumption, the health implications can be overwhelming. Poor sanitation practices, such as locating on-site sanitation systems close to these wells, are a sure contributing factor in the pollution of the quarry water system (ARGOSS, 2001). It has been documented, and accepted as a standard that when on-site sanitation systems are sited less than 50 m away from wells and bore holes, the water from such wells will definitely be polluted (Obiri Danso et al., 2008).

Water from wells dug in close proximity to VIPs (Ventilated Improved Pits) may have health hazards. Getting safe water for human consumption is essential for good health and a basic human right. Quality of water from such wells needs to be checked periodically in order to ascertain whether they are good for human consumption and other domestic use.

The Oyi and Igbariam communities in Anambra state have a lot of wells to provide drinking water to curb the acute water shortages experienced by the inhabitants. Within these communities there are various improperly managed sanitation systems, including Ventilated Improved Pits (VIPs).

Also the water table is quite high in the low-lying part of the area; Saltpond being a low-lying coastal community. Thus the possibility of the local quarry water system being contaminated by bacteria as well as other microorganisms from the various pits cannot be overlooked.Again, health records obtained from the Municipal Hospital showed that the communities experience periodic outbreaks of water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, etc. This occurs virtually every year (from researcher’s personal observation).

It is therefore important to investigate the possibility or otherwise of pollution of the water sourced from the wells. This will help ascertain whether or not the diseases reported at the Municipal Hospital are either directly or indirectly related to water sourced from these wells.

According to the WHO report (2010), Oyi and Igbariam lacks adequate improved water resources, with only 40% of the water resources improved, thus 60% of the water resources are faced with pollution beyond the WHO maximum permissible limits. This inaccessibility to clean water poses a risk of water borne diseases as indicated by rampant water borne diseases like typhoid and diarrhea.

The World Health Organization recommends that the minimum daily amount of water per person should be 27litres. It is not clear how much water is explored per capita in Yei County; however it is obvious that many manage far less than 27 liters a day. Yei county had a population of 23,519 in 1983 and 201,443 people in 2010 (SSCCSE, 2010). This population is still increasing and according to Economy Watch 2011, the birth rate of Yei is at 2.14%.

The major source of water in Yei is borehole water, however, with this high birth rate coupled with high rate of refugee returnees, reliance on borehole water resources is increasing creating challenges of provision of adequate quality and quantity water. MDG.7C. Seeks to half the population of those without access to safe water. Yei County is in a crisis of increasing water scarcity coupled with poor water quality and communities reject some borehole water during specific seasons. There is a gap in knowledge of anthropogenic, geological and hydrological factors impacting on borehole water quality and the patterns of borehole water consumption to identify areas with water stress, and understand consumption patterns, like the effects of distance from the borehole, household size and changing seasons on daily per capita borehole water consumption.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

  1. To examine the sources of contaminated water.
  2. To identify microbes found in quarry pit water.
  3. To assessment of microbes risk of quarry pit water.
  4. To determine the level of the pH, colour, turbidity, nitrates, ammonium, chloride, and conductivity, of water samples from selected quarry pit.
  5. To determine the level of Is faecal coliforms, E. coli present in quarry pit water.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION

  1. What are the sources of contaminated water?
  2. Are there microbes found in quarry pit water?
  3. How risk is microbes found in quarry pit water?
  4. What is the level of the pH, colour, turbidity, nitrates, ammonium, chloride, and conductivity, of water samples from selected quarry pit?
  5. Is faecal coliforms, E. coli present in quarry pit water?

1.6  SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY

The findings from this study could be of vital in exposing the risk of microbes in quarry water. The study of help to government and health agencies on the area of policy making and environmental sanitation practices.

1.7    SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study is on the microbial assessment of quarry pit water.

1.8    LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The only limitation faced by the researcher in the course of carrying out this study was the delay in getting data from the various respondents. Most respondents were reluctant in filling questionnaires administered to them due to their busy schedules and nature of their work. The researcher found it difficult to collect responses from the various respondents, and this almost hampered the success of this study.

1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Quarry: A quarry is a place from which dimension stone, rock, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, gravel, or slate has been excavated from the ground.

Water: Water is a colourless, transparent, odourless, liquid which forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain and is the basis of the fluids of living organisms. Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O.

 Quarry Water: the moisture content of freshly quarried porous stone.

Microbes: Microbes are single-cell organisms so tiny that millions can fit into the eye of a needle. They are the oldest form of life on earth. Microbe fossils date back more than 3.5 billion years to a time when the Earth was covered with oceans that regularly reached the boiling point, hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Microbe is a microscopic organism, which may be single-celled or multicellular.

Properties of Water: Water is the most essential chemical substance for survival of all forms of life. It is one of the very few substances to be found naturally in all three states on earth: solid water as ice, liquid form is called water and gaseous water is known as vapour.

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