Water quality of the Mfoundi River and four of its tributaries was studied by assessing some physicochemical variables (temperature, pH, conductivity, chlorides, phosphates and nitrogen ammonia, dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide, organic matter content and Biological Oxygen Demand) and their influence on the distribution of bacterial indicators of faecal contamination (total coliform, faecal coliform and faecal streptococci). For this, standard methods for the examination of physicochemical parameters in water were followed, and statistical analysis (Pearson correlations) used to establish any relationships between physicochemical and biological variables. Our results revealed that almost all of the examined physicochemical variables exceeded World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for recreational water. This was in agreement with a previous microbiological study indicating that these waters were not safe for human use or primary contact according to water quality standards established by the WHO. Results of our correlation analysis suggested that physicochemical and biological variables interact in complicated ways reflecting the complex processes occurring in the natural environment. It was also concluded that pollution in the Mfoundi River watershed poses an increased risk of infection for users and there exists an urgent need to control dumping of wastewater into this watershed.

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