Microbial deterioration of stored water for users supplied by stand-pipes and ground-tanks in a peri-urban community

  • S Maraj
  • N Rodda
  • S Jackson
  • C Buckley
  • N Macleod
Keywords: drinking water quality, stored water, stand-pipes, ground-tanks, E. coli, total coliforms


Two forms of water service delivery in peri-urban settlements in the eThekwini municipal region are communal stand-pipes and household ground-tanks. Water from these sources requires storage prior to use. Previous studies have shown that water quality tends to deteriorate during storage. This study was conducted during the winter season and tested water from stand-pipe and ground-tank households for deterioration of microbial quality relative to source. Thirty stand-pipe and 27 ground- tank households were sampled for a period of 10 d. Samples were tested for total organisms, total coliforms, Escherichia coli, conductivity, turbidity, pH and free and total chlorine. Households were divided into groups on the basis of the age distribution of members to assess the impact of household composition on stored water quality. Stand-pipe households were further divided according to the type of water containers used. Results indicated that both ground-tank and stand-pipe water deteriorated during storage although ground-tank water was of better quality than stand-pipe water. There was no significant difference in water quality between stand-pipe households that used open-top containers and those that used closed-top containers. Comparison of the water quality relative to age distribution of households showed that householders were at increased risk of consuming faecally contaminated water if children were present in the case of households supplied by ground- tanks, but not for those supplied by stand-pipes. Results from stand-pipe households with adults only indicated that such households maintained better personal hygiene but lower container hygiene than those households consisting of children, whereas the opposite effect was seen in those stand-pipe households with children present.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0378-4738