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Domestic Drinking Water in Rural Areas: Are Water Tanks on Farms a Health Hazard?

  • Year: 2001
  • Author: Verrinder, Glenda; Keleher, Helen
  • Journal Name: Environmental Health
  • Journal Number: Vol. 1, No. 3
  • Country: Australia

The aim of the research was to gain a better understanding of the relationship between drinking water quality, householders' knowledge and maintenance practices of private water supplies and drinking waterrelated public health risk on farms. Samples of drinking water were taken from 100 farming households. The Colilert-18 method was used for the detection of total coliforms and Escherichia coli (E. coli) as indicators of water quality. Each household completed a questionnaire about their knowledge and practices relating to a safe water supply. Coliforms were present in 52 water samples and E. coli was present in 38. Seven households reported minor illnesses in the previous three months and two households reported gastroenteritis. Some tank maintenance occurred in 86 households, but tank maintenance activities varied considerably. Four of the households had published guidelines on water quality. None of the participating households had their drinking water tested regularly. There was no obvious relationship between drinking water quality, householder knowledge, maintenance practices and drinking water-related health risk on farms.

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