Monitoring of Selected Groundwater Sources for Fecal Contamination Using Bacterial and Viral Fecal Pollution Markers
The availability of good drinking water is an important ingredient for preventing epidemic waterborne disease and improving the quality of life. This study investigated the concentration of fecal pollution markers in selected groundwater sources in Akure, Nigeria. This is to gain a better understanding of the level of fecal contamination and behavioural dynamics of fecal indicator bacteria (such as E. coli, fecal coliforms, intestinal enterococci, Salmonella, Shigella) and somatic coliphages (i.e., indicator of human enteric viruses) in the groundwater sources, especially for human health protection. Water samples (n=96) were collected from selected wells in Akure metropolis over a 12-week period. Bacterial indicators were determined using membrane filtration techniques, while somatic coliphages were determined using a standardized double-agar layer method. Physicochemical characteristics of the water samples were determined using standard method. Results revealed that the concentrations of E. coli ranged from 3.66 to 29.33CFU/100ml, fecal coliforms ranged from 2.33 to 44.60 CFU/100ml and enterococci ranged from 2.33 to 21.66CFU/100ml. For the first time, this study demonstrated the occurrence of somatic coliphages ranging from 1.00 to 12.00 PFU/100ml in water samples collected from the selected groundwater sources within Akure metropolis. The mean values of physicochemical characteristics of water samples from the groundwater sources over the period of study showed that mean water temperature ranged from 23.9 to 24.9°C, turbidity ranged from 18.6 to 19.9 NTU and salinity ranged from 21.7 to 23.5%. Pearson’s rank correlation analysis revealed that there was a positive relationship between water temperature and levels of E. coli (r=0.83), somatic coliphages (r=0.75) and intestinal enterococci (r=0.68). The results from this study suggests that the level of fecal contamination, occurrence and behavioural dynamics of the targeted faecal indicator bacteria and somatic coliphages in the water samples collected from selected groundwater sources from different geographical zones in Akure, Nigeria are to a large extent influenced by physicochemical factors, inadequate maintenance of the water sources, close proximity to septic tank and probable percolation of sewage into the groundwater sources. The findings suggest that the groundwater sources were prone to fecal contaminations and may contain pathogenic enteric bacteria and viruses that may result to onward transmission of waterborne diseases, hence microbially unsafe for human consumption except treated.
Groundwater, Fecal Contamination, Fecal Indicator Bacteria, Somatic Coliphages, Health Risk
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