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COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF COMMINANTS AND WATER QUALITY BETWEEN HAND DUG WELLS AND BOREHOLES

Format: MS WORD  |  Chapter: 1-5  |  Pages: 63  |  1837 Users found this project useful  |  Price NGN3,000

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Water is one of the essential things needed for the well being of individuals. The quality of sources of drinking water cannot therefore, be left out. To ensure good quality of drinking water, its microbiological and physicochemical analysis should be done. This analysis will help to identify micro-organisms that results in water- borne diseases and its subsequent effects on the health of people especially the rural folks.

Quality drinking water is essential for life. Unfortunately, in many countries around the world, including Ghana, water has become a scarce commodity as only a small proportion of the populace has access to treated water (IDLO, 2006). Alternative sources of water such as rainwater and ground water have become major sources of drinking water for people living in new settlements and some residents who do not have access to treated water in Ghana. The need to assess the quality of water from some of these alternative sources has become imperative because they have a direct effect on the health of individuals (WHO, 2002).

Contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, nitrates and salt have polluted water supplies as a result of inadequate treatment and disposal of waste from humans and livestock, industrial discharges, and over-use of limited water resources (Singh and Mosley 2003). Even if no sources of anthropogenic contamination exist there is potential for natural levels of metals and other chemicals to be harmful to human health. This was highlighted in Bangladesh where natural levels of arsenic in groundwater were found to be causing harmful effects on the population (Anawara et al., 2002). Unfortunately, this problem arose because the groundwater was extracted for drinking without a detailed chemical investigation. The natural water analyses for physical and chemical properties including trace element contents are very important for public health studies ( Baranowski et al., 2000). These studies are also a main part of pollution studies in the environment.

Bacterial pathogens enter water supplies from the direct disposal of waste into streams or lakes or from runoff from wooded areas, pastures, feedlots, septic tanks, and sewage plants into streams or groundwater. Coliform can also enter an individual house via backflow of water from a contaminated source, carbon filters, or leaking well caps that allow dirt and dead organisms to fall into the water (NGA, 2008). The presence of Escherichia coli in drinking water denotes that the water has been faecally contaminated and therefore presents a potential health risk to households that use them untreated (WHO, 2003).

Research conducted in Ghana by Kwakye-Nuako et al., (2007) indicated that 77% of filtered underground water samples sold as sachet water that were analyzed contained infective stages of pathogenic parasitic organisms. Common pathogens and indicators identified in the Kwakye-Nuako et al., study include, Microsporidia spp. (51.2%), Cryptosporidium parvum

(63.0%), Cyclospora cayetenens (59.3%), Sarcocystis sp. (66.7%), Rotifers (18.5%), and Charcoat Leyden crystals (evidence of allergies or parasitic infection) (44.4%). Ninety-three percent of the samples contained unidentified impurities/artifacts. A total of 29.6% of the samples contained at least one type of parasite, 14.8% contained at least 2 types of parasites,

25.9% contained at least three types of parasites, and 29.6% contained four types of parasites. This has grim public health implications as the organisms identified can cause water related diseases that have serious complications in children and adults particularly immunecompromised individuals.

These factors have led to the growing rate of water borne diseases such as typhoid fever and cholera experienced in this part of the world (Edwards, 1993). The current status as described by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme indicates that 2.6 billion people are without improved sanitation and nearly 900 million people lack access to improved source of potable water and this situation is unacceptable (WHO/UNICEF,2010). 

With families living in poverty and local communities often left to look after themselves with none or very little assistance from overstretched or underfunded governments and local communities, a poverty trap is created that simply does not allow for investment in clean water sources and the cycle just continues.

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