INTRODUCTION TO DRINKING WATER QUALITY TESTING

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INTRODUCTION TODRINKING WATER QUALITY TESTINGA CAWST TRAINING MANUALJune 2009 Edition

12, 2916 – 5th AvenueCalgary, AlbertaT2A 6K4, CanadaPhone 1 (403) 243-3285Fax 1 (403) 243-6199E-mail: cawst@cawst.orgWebsite: www.cawst.orgCAWST is a Canadian non-proft organization focused on the principle that cleanwater changes lives. Safe water and basic sanitation are fundamentals necessary toempower the world’s poorest people and break the cycle of poverty. CAWSTbelieves that the place to start is to teach people the skills they need to have safewater in their homes. CAWST transfers knowledge and skills to organizations andindividuals in developing countries through education, training and consultingservices. This ever expanding network can motivate individual households to takeaction to meet their own water and sanitation needs.One of CAWST’s core strategies is to make knowledge about water commonknowledge. This is achieved, in part, by developing and freely distributing educationmaterials with the intent of increasing its availability to those who need it most.This document is open content and licensed under the Creative Commons AttributionWorks 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visithttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons,171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California 94105, USA.You are free to: Share — to copy, distribute and transmit this document Remix — to adapt this document. We would appreciate receiving a copy of anychanges that you’ve made to improve this document.Under the following conditions: Attribution. You must give CAWST credit for this document (but not in any waythat suggests that CAWST endorses you or your use of this document).CAWST and its directors, employees, contractors, and volunteers do not assume anyresponsibility for and make no warranty with respect to the results that may beobtained from the use of the information provided.

Drinking Water Quality TestingTable of ContentsTable of ContentsAcronymsGlossarySection 11.11.21.31.41.51.61.71.8Introduction of Drinking Water Quality TestingDrinking Water QualityCommunity and Household Water TreatmentNeed for Drinking Water Quality TestingDrinking Water Quality Guidelines and StandardsDrinking Water Quality Testing OptionsLessons LearnedSummary of Key PointsReferencesSection 2 Planning for Water Quality Testing2.1 The Planning Process2.2 Summary of Key PointsSection 33.13.23.33.43.53.63.73.83.93.10Water Sampling and Quality ControlDetermining the Sample SizeChoosing a Sample MethodHow to Collect Water SamplesHow to Transport Water SamplesHow to Dilute a Water SampleEnsuring Quality ControlChecklist for Field WorkHealth and SafetySummary of Key PointsReferencesSection 44.14.24.34.44.54.6Testing for Physical ContaminantsWHO Guidelines for Physical ParametersPotential Health EffectsTest MethodsInterpreting Test ResultsSummary of Key PointsReferencesSection 55.15.25.35.45.55.6Testing for Chemical ContaminantsWHO Guidelines for Chemical ContaminantsCommon Chemicals Parameters for TestingTest MethodsInterpreting Test ResultsSummary of Key PointsReferencesi

Drinking Water Quality TestingSection 66.16.26.36.46.56.66.76.8Testing for Microbiological ContaminantsWHO Guidelines for Microbiological ContaminantsPotential Health EffectsInfectious DoseIndicator OrganismsTest MethodsInterpreting Test ResultsSummary of Key PointsReferencesSection 77.17.27.37.4Interpreting Test ResultsSteps for Data InterpretationInterpreting Laboratory ReportsSummary of Key PointsReferencesAppendicesAppendix 1Appendix 2Appendix 3Appendix 4Appendix 5Appendix 6Appendix 7Appendix 8Appendix 9Table of ContentsEquipment and MaterialsEstablishing a LaboratoryDetermining the Sample SizeQuality ControlData Recording FormsSingle Parameter Testing ProceduresExample Test ReportCulture Media for Microbiological TestingWHO Guidelines and Health Effects of Chemical Contaminantsii

Drinking Water Quality TestingAcronyms and GlossaryAcronymsBSFbiosand filterCAWSTCentre for Affordable Water and Sanitation TechnologyCFUcolony forming unitsECelectrical conductivityENPHOEnvironment and Public Health OrganizationFRCfree residual chlorineHWTShousehold water treatment and safe storageMFmembrane filtrationMPNmost probable numberNGOnon-governmental organizationndno dateNOPnot operating properlyNPSnutrient pad setNTUnephelometric turbidity unitsP-Apresence-absencePETpolyethylene perephthalatePPBparts per billionPPMparts per millionSODISsolar disinfectionTCUtrue colour unitsTDItolerable daily intakeTDStotal dissolved solidsTNTCtoo numerous to countUNUnited NationsUNDPUnited Nations Development ProgramsUNICEFUnited Nations Children’s Education FundUS EPAUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyWHOWorld Health Organizationiii

Drinking Water Quality TestingAcronyms and GlossaryGlossaryAdsorptionThe adherence of gas molecules,ions, microorganism or moleculesin solution to the surface of a solid.BrothA broth is a liquid mixturecontaining nutrients for culturingmicroorganisms.AgarA semi-solid gel mixture containingnutrients for culturingmicroorganisms.ChemicalInvolving or resulting from areaction between two or moresubstances.AlgaeAquatic species that encompassseveral groups of relatively simpleliving aquatic organisms thatcapture light energy throughphotosynthesis, using it to convertinorganic substances into organicmatter.ChlorineA: Combined chlorineChlorine that is present in waterthat is combined with otherchemicals.B: Free chlorineChlorine present in water that isnot combined with other chemicalsand available to disinfect anyadditional contaminants introducedto the water.C: Total chlorineCombined chlorine Free chlorineAnaerobicPertaining to, taking place in, orcaused by the absence of oxygen.AquiferA geologic formation, group offormations, or part of a formationthat contains sufficient saturatedsand or gravel (permeablematerial) to yield significantquantities of water to springs andwells.BacteriaSingle-celled microscopicorganisms.BasicThe opposite of acidic; water thathas pH greater than 7.BiologicalAny substance derived fromanimal products or other biologicalsources.BiodegradationTransformation of a substance intonew compounds throughbiochemical reactions or actions ofmicroorganisms such as bacteria.Blue-baby syndromeA condition most common in younginfants and certain elderly peoplethat can be caused by ingestion ofhigh amounts of nitrate, whichresults in the blood losing its abilityto effectively carry oxygen.ColiformA group of generally harmlessbacteria which may be faecal orenvironmental in origin.Colony (bacterial)A cluster of bacteria growing onthe surface of or within a solidmedia, usually cultured from asingle cell and appears as acircular dot on the media.ConcentrationThe ratio of the quantity of anysubstance present in a sample ofgiven volume or a given weightcompared to the volume or weightof the sample (e.g. mg/L, µg/L,ppm, ppb).ConstituentA chemical or biological substancein water, sediment, or livingorganism of the area that can bemeasured by an analytical method.ContaminationDegradation of water qualitycompared to original or naturalconditions due to human or naturalactivity.Culture MediaCombination of nutrients andreagents used to culturemicroorganisms (e.g. broths,agars)CriterionA standard of judgment or arule for evaluating or testingsomething.DischargeThe volume of fluid passing apoint per unit of time,commonly expressed in3m /second, L/minute.Dissolved oxygenOxygen dissolved in water; oneof the most important indicatorsof the condition of a waterbody. Dissolved oxygen isnecessary for the life of fish andmost other aquatic organisms.Dissolved solidsAn expression for the amountof solids which are contained ina liquid in a dissolved form.EffluentOutflow from a particularsource, such as stream thatflows from a lake or liquidwaste that flows from a factoryor sewage treatment plant.Fecal bacteriaMicroscopic single-celledorganisms found in the wastesor warm blooded animals. Theirpresence indicatescontamination by the wastes ofwarm-blooded animals and thepossible presence ofpathogenic organisms.Filter paperA porous paper used in themembrane filtration techniquethrough which the sample isfiltered and which retains thebacteria. Pore sizes for fecalbacteria are between 0.45 and0.7iv

Drinking Water Quality TestingFresh waterWater that contains less than1,000 mg/L of dissolved solidssuch as salt.GuidelineA recommended limit that shouldnot be exceeded; guidelines arenot intended to be standards ofpractice, or to give rise to a legalduty or obligation, but in certaincircumstances they could assist inevaluation and improvement.IonA positively or negatively chargedatom or group of atoms.LeachingThe removal of materials insolution from soil or rock; alsorefers to movement of pesticidesor nutrients from land surface toground water.Membrane FiltrationWater quality testing method usedto measure microbiologicalcontamination by enumeration ofindicator bacteria colony formingunitsNonpoint source contaminantA substance that pollutes ordegrades water that comes fromagricultural runoff, the atmosphere,roadways, and other diffusesources.Nephelometric Turbidity Unit(NTU)Unit of measure for the turbidity ofwater. Essentially, a measure ofthe cloudiness of water asmeasured by a nephelometer.Turbidity is based on the amountof light that is reflected off particlesin the water.Acronyms and GlossaryOrganicContaining carbon, but possiblyalso containing hydrogen, oxygen,chlorine, nitrogen, and otherelements.QuantitativeDistinguishing substancesbased on their quantity usingmeasurements. Ex: mass,number, height.PathogenAny living organism that causesdisease.RunoffThe flow of precipitation orsnowmelt that appears instreams or surface-waterbodies.pHA scale representation of theamount of hydrogen ions insolution reflecting acidity oralkalinity.PhotometerDigital device used to measure theconcentration of a parameter(chemical, physical) in a sample.PhysicalA material thing which can betouched and seen, rather than anidea or spoken wordsPoint-source contaminantAny substance that degradeswater quality and originates fromdiscrete locations such asdischarge pipes of latrines orseptic tanks, drainage ditches orwell concentrated livestockoperation.Potable waterWater that is safe and has a goodtaste for human consumption.PollutionUndesirable state of the naturalenvironment being contaminatedwith harmful substances as aconsequence of human activitiesor natural calamities.QualitativeDistinguishing substances basedon their quality using words. Ex:color, smell, hardness.StandardA mandatory limit that must notbe exceeded; standards oftenreflect a legal duty or obligation.Suspended solidsSolids that are not in truesolution and that can beremoved by filtration. Suchsuspended solids usuallycontribute directly to turbidity.Defined in waste management,these are small particles ofsolid pollutants that resistseparation by conventionalmethods.TurbidityThe amount of solid particlesthat are suspended in waterand that cause light raysshining through the water toscatter. Thus, turbidity makesthe water cloudy or evenopaque in extreme cases.Turbidity is measured innephelometric turbidity units(NTU).Water qualityA term used to describe thechemical, physical, andbiological characteristics ofwater, usually in respect to itssuitability for a ries.htmlv

Drinking Water Quality TestingSection 1 Introduction1 Introduction to Drinking Water Quality TestingHaving safe drinking water and basic sanitation is a human need and right for every man,woman and child. People need clean water and sanitation to maintain their health anddignity. Having better water and sanitation is essential in breaking the cycle of povertysince it improves people’s health, strength to work, and ability go to school.Yet 884 million people around the world live without improved drinking water and 2.5billion people still lack access to improved sanitation, including 1.2 billion who do not havea simple latrine at all (WHO/UNICEF, 2008). Many of these people are among thosehardest to reach: families living in remote rural areas and urban slums, families displacedby war and famine, and families living in the poverty-disease trap, for whom improvedsanitation and drinking water could offer a way out.The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 88% of diarrheal disease is causedby unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. As a result, more than 4,500children die every day from diarrhea and other diseases. For every child that dies,countless others, including older children and adults, suffer from poor health and missedopportunities for work and education.The global water crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims throughguns (UNDP, 2006).In 2000, the United Nations created the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) toimprove the quality of life for people all over the world. The following are the eight MDGsthat are to be achieved by the year 2015:1.2.3.4.5.6.7.Eliminate extreme poverty and hunger.Achieve universal primary education.Promote gender equality and empower women.Reduce child mortality.Improve maternal health.Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.Ensure environmental sustainability.(c) Reduce the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking waterand basic sanitation by half.8. Develop a global partnership for development.The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) isthe official United Nations organization responsible for monitoring progress towards theMDG targets for improved drinking water and sanitation.1

Drinking Water Quality TestingSection 1 IntroductionWhat Does Improved Drinking Water and Sanitation Mean? Improved drinking water source is defined as a drinking water source or deliverypoint that, by nature of its construction and design, is likely to protect the water sourcefrom outside contamination, in particular from fecal matter. Safe drinking water is water with microbiological, chemical and physicalcharacteristics that meet WHO guidelines or national standards on drinking waterquality. Improved sanitation facility is defined as one that hygienically separates humanexcreta from human contact. However, sanitation facilities are not consideredimproved when shared with other households, or open for public use.What are Improved Technologies for Drinking Water and Sanitation?Improved TechnologiesDrinking WaterSanitation Piped waterPublic tap/standpipeTubewell/boreholeProtected dug wellProtected springRainwater collection1Bottled water Flush or pour-flush to apiped sewer system,septic tank or pit latrineVIP latrinePit latrine with slabComposting toilet Unimproved TechnologiesDrinking WaterSanitation Unprotected dug wellUnprotected springVendor-provided waterTanker truck waterSurface water (e.g. river,stream, dam, lake,pond, canal) Public or shared latrineOpen pit or pit latrinewithout a slabHanging toilet or latrineBucket latrineNo facilities at all 21The JMP considers bottled water a source of improved drinking water only when another improved source isalso used for cooking and personal hygiene.2Shared or public facilities are not considered to be improved.(WHO/UNICEF, 2008)2

Drinking Water Quality TestingSection 1 Introduction1.1 Drinking Water QualityWe find our drinking water from different places depending on where we live in the world.Three sources that are used to collect drinking water are:1. Ground water – Water that fills the spaces between rocks and soil making an aquifer.Ground water depth and quality varies from place to place. About half of the world’sdrinking water comes from the ground.2. Surface water – Water that is taken directly from a stream, river, lake, pond, spring orsimilar source. Surface water quality is generally unsafe to drink without treatment.3. Rainwater – Water that is collected and stored using a roof top, ground surface orrock catchment. The quality of rain water collected from a roof surface is usuallybetter than a ground surface or rock catchment.Water is in continuous movement on, above and below the surface of the earth. As wateris recycled through the earth, it picks up many things along its path. Water quality will varyfrom place to place, with the seasons, and with various kinds of rock and soil which itmoves through.For the most part, it is natural processes that affect water quality. For instance, watermoving through underground rocks and soils may pick up natural contaminants, even withno human activity or pollution in the area. In addition to nature's influence, water is alsopolluted by human activities, such as open defecation, dumping garbage, poor agriculturalpractices, and chemical spills at industrial sites.Even though water may be clear, it does not necessarily mean that it is safe for us todrink. It is important for us to judge the safety of water by taking the following threequalities into consideration:1. Microbiological – bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and worms2. Chemical – minerals, metals and chemicals3. Physical – temperature, colour, smell, taste and turbiditySafe drinking water should have the following microbiological, chemical and physicalqualities: Free of pathogensLow in concentrations of toxic chemicalsClearTasteless and colourless (for aesthetic purposes)When considering drinking water quality, in most cases microbiological contamination isthe main concern since it is responsible for the majority of illnesses and deaths related todrinking unsafe water.3

Drinking Water Quality TestingSection 1 Introduction1.2 Community and Household Water TreatmentWater can be treated at a central location, in large volumes, and then supplied tohouseholds through a network of pipes. This is often called centralized or communitywater treatment. Smaller volumes of water can also be treated at the point of use (POU),such as in a home. This is commonly called household water treatment and safe storage(HWTS) since the family members gather the water, and then treat and store it in theirhome.Most people around the world wish to have safe water piped directly to their homesthrough a community water treatment system. Unfortunately, the money and resourcesneeded to construct, operate and maintain a community system are not always availablein most developing countries.The main advantage of HWTS is that it can be used immediately in the homes of poorfamilies to improve their drinking water quality. It is proven to be an effective way toprevent diseases from unsafe water. HWTS lets people take responsibility of their ownwater security by treating and safely storing water themselves.HWTS is also less expensive, more appropriate for treating smaller volumes of water, andprovides an entry or starting point for hygiene and sanitation education. There are a widerange of simple HWTS technologies that provide options based on what is most suitableand affordable for the individual household.Some limitations of HWTS are that it requires families to be knowledgeable about itsoperation and maintenance, and they need to be motivated to use the technologycorrectly. As well, most HWTS processes are designed to remove pathogens rather thanchemicals.With both centralized and household water treatment, using the multi-barrier approach is thebest way to reduce the risk of drinking unsafe water. Each step in the process, from sourceprotection, to water treatment and safe storage, provides an incremental health riskreduction. Both community and household water treatment systems follow the same watertreatment process. The only difference is the scale of the systems that are used bycommunities and households.Household Water sinfectionSafe StorageImportant Note:The majority of water quality

1.1 Drinking Water Quality 1.2 Community and Household Water Treatment 1.3 Need for Drinking Water Quality Testing 1.4 Drinking Water Quality Guidelines and Standards 1.5 Drinking Water Quality Testing Options 1.6 Lessons Learned 1.7 Summary of Key Points 1.8 References Section 2 Planning f

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