208272 Large-scale trials of drinking water quality in Ghana and the Philippines comparing the WatMap Portable Water Quality Kit with Colilert Quanti-Tray

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:42 AM

Susan E. Murcott , Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Jim Berry , Economics Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Gregory Fischer , London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom
Raymond Guiteras , Economics Dept., University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Robert Metcalf , Biological Sciences, California State University-Sacramento, Scaramento, CA
Jarvis Punsalan , Provincial Health Office, Capiz, Philippines
Abdul-Sallam Sayuti , Pure Home Water, Tamale, Ghana
Lydia Senanu , Pure Home Water, Tamale, Ghana
Millions of people worldwide don't understand the connection between contaminated drinking water and waterborne diseases. And, cumbersome, expensive microbial indicator standard test methods make water quality field tests difficult.

We report on the first large-scale trials comparing the EC-Kit Portable Microbiology Lab with Colilert Quanti-Tray®, a method approved in the U.S. and 35 countries worldwide. The EC-Kit Portable Microbiology Lab is a simple, state-of-the-art kit that contains two complementary tests for Escherichia coli, the Colilert 10 ml presence/absence test and 3M™'s Petrifilm™ test, also a waist-belt incubator, ultraviolet light, turbidity tube and more.

Over 6,000 tests of source and household water quality were conducted over 12 months in Northern Region, Ghana and Capiz Province, Philippines and various other countries. E. coli counts from the EC-Kit tests correlated well with the Quanti-Tray® results. Drinking water from surface water sources and open, unprotected wells were found to pose a high risk of disease. Water from boreholes and protected supplies posed a lower risk at the source, but with deterioration at the household level.

Results verify the advantages of the EC-Kit: simplicity, sophisticated microbiology for US$3 per set, test results in 12-24 hours correlating with WHO disease risk categories, and the ability for tests to be performed anywhere – off the electrical grid, without clean lab conditions. Public health policy and practice implications for international water quality testing are significant. With simple instructions, communities can test their drinking water. The EC-Kit tests can provide immediate feedback on public health interventions. Recommendations include a call for wide-scale deployment.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the innovations in the WatMap Portable Water Quality Test Kit 2. Compare WatMap Portable Water Quality Test Kit with Colilert Quanti-Tray through large-scale trials in Ghana and Philippines 3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the respective water quality test methods

Keywords: International Health, Water Quality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the lead investigator of this team. I am a Senior Lecturer in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept at MIT with 15 years experience in Environmental Engineering and International Health. I have overseen the conduct of this research during 2009
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.