In-house contamination of potable water in urban slum of Kolkata, India

December 11, 2012 · 0 comments

Water Sci Technol. 2012;66(2):299-303. doi: 10.2166/wst.2012.177.

In-house contamination of potable water in urban slum of Kolkata, India: a possible transmission route of diarrhea.

Palit A, Batabyal P, Kanungo S, Sur D. Division of Microbiology, National Institute of Cholera & Enteric Diseases, Beliaghata, Kolkata, India.

We have investigated and determined the potentiality of different water sources, both for drinking and domestic purposes, in diarrheal disease transmission in diarrhea endemic foci of urban slums in Kolkata, India in a one and half year prospective study. Out of 517 water samples, collected from different sources, stored water (washing) showed higher prevalence of fecal coliforms (58%) (p < 0.0001) in comparison with stored (drinking) samples (28%) and tap/tubewell water (8%) respectively.

Among different sources, stored water (washing) samples had the highest non-permissible range of physico-chemical parameters. Fecal coliform levels in household water containers (washing) were comparatively high and almost 2/3 of these samples failed to reach the satisfactory level of residual chlorine. Interestingly, 7% stored water (washing) samples were found to be harboring Vibrio cholerae.

Improper usage of stored water and unsafe/poor sanitation practices such as hand washing etc. are highlighted as contributory factors for sustained diarrheal episodes. Vulnerability of stored water for domestic usage, a hitherto unexplored source, at domiciliary level in an urban slum where enteric infections are endemic, is reported for the first time. This attempt highlights the impact of quality of stored water at domiciliary level for fecal-oral contamination vis-à-vis disease transmission.

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