The key to provide microbiologically safe drinking-water lies in understanding the various mechanisms by which water gets contaminated. This study assessed the risk of contamination and microbiological and chemical quality of water from protected dug wells in five selected Panchayats in Kollam district, Kerala state, southern India. Sanitary inspection was conducted for 70 protected dug wells using World Health Organization established procedures for risk of contamination scoring. Microbiological and chemical analysis of water samples was done. The areas with higher incidence of hepatitis A had a higher proportion of wells with high risk of contamination scores (p = 0.006). High risk of contamination scores for wells were associated with higher incidence of fecal pollution (odds ratio 11.80; 95% confidence interval 1.87–74.86). The study highlighted the need to make the wells safe in this area, for control of waterborne diseases.

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