Analysis of physico-chemical and bacteriological quality of drinking water in Mafikeng, South Africa

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Mafikeng, the capital of the North West Province, receives water from two sources, namely the Molopo eye and the Modimola dam. Once treated, the potable water is mixed and supplied to the city via distribution systems. This study was designed to assess the quality of drinking water in Mafikeng and also to determine whether the water from the two sources has an impact on the mixed water quality. Physico-chemical parameters and bacteriological quality (faecal coliforms (FCs), total coliforms (TCs), heterotrophic bacteria and Peudomonas spp.) was monitored at three drinking water sites weekly for 4 months. The results revealed that the physico-chemical quality of the water was generally acceptable. The pH ranged from 5.7 ± 0.18 to 8.6 ± 0.14, the temperature ranged from 18.3 ± 0.69 to 25.1 ± 0.69 °C and the total dissolved solids (TDS) ranged from 159.9 ± 22.44 to 364.4 ± 12.44 mg/l. These values are within the target water quality range for drinking water as prescribed by WHO, Department of Water Affairs and SANS 241. What is of concern was the microbial quality of the water. FCs, TCs, heterotrophic bacteria and Pseudomonas spp. were present in some of the treated water samples. The most significant finding of this study is that all drinking water samples were positive for Pseudomonas spp. (>100/100 ml).

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