An assessment on quality and hygienic conditions of spring water was undertaken in Mongolia in 2004 with financial and technical support from the World Health Organization through AGFUND.

Methodology: A total of 127 springs, 99 from rural areas and 28 from Ulaanbaatar city were included in the study. The study included hygienic conditions, physical, microbiological and chemical parameters of springs. Based on the results of laboratory analysis, the quality of springs were classified into five degrees of contamination.

Results: The majority of springs studied and especially in UB city and the Central region had poor hygienic conditions such as low flow rate, turbidity or pollution sources in the vicinity of springs. 78% of the total studied springs did not have any protection or upgrade and 22% have only wooden, iron and stone fences. The water quality parameters such as hardness, total dissolved solids, oxygen demand, nitrogenous compounds, total microbial count, Escherichia coli were also significantly higher in springs located in UB city, the Central region and the East region. 47.6% of all studied aimag's (countryside) spring water were significantly polluted by more than three parameters especially E. coli, ammonia, oxygen demand, which indicated a recent contamination by human and animal excreta in water.

Conclusion: The current study revealed that the majority of springs in peri urban areas close to UB city and the Central region had poor hygienic conditions. Different levels of contamination using both microbiological and chemical tests were found in studied springs. It is recommended that regular assessment of spring water quality be undertaken to create awareness among communities and local authorities for further protection and upgrading of spring water sources.

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