Sanitary inspection of wells was performed according to World Health Organization (WHO) procedures using risk-of-contamination (ROC) scoring in the peri-urban tropical lowlands of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The ROC was assessed for its capacity to predict bacterial faecal pollution in the investigated well water. The analysis was based on a selection of wells representing environments with low to high presumptive faecal pollution risk and a multi-parametric data set of bacterial indicators, generating a comprehensive picture of the level and characteristics of faecal pollution (such as vegetative Escherichia coli cells, Clostridium perfringens spores and human-associated sorbitol fermenting Bifidobacteria). ROC scoring demonstrated a remarkable ability to predict bacterial faecal pollution levels in the investigated well water (e.g. 87% of E. coli concentration variations were predicted by ROC scoring). Physicochemical characteristics of the wells were not reflected by the ROC scores. Our results indicate that ROC scoring is a useful tool for supporting health-related well water management in urban and suburban areas of tropical, developing countries. The outcome of this study is discussed in the context of previously published results, and future directions are suggested.

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