267738 Assessment of the drinking water quality from on-campus water fountains: An evaluation of secondary contamination

Monday, October 29, 2012

Opuruiche Ibekwe, MBBS , Department of Public Health, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Ritchie D. Taylor, PhD , Dept. of Public Health, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
William Mkanta, PhD , Department of Public Health, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
BACKGROUND: Drinking water contamination poses a serious public health problem in the United States. For the most part, this problem is attributed to the water delivery system. Drinking water fountains are widespread in the country especially in densely populated areas with many users, such as universities and public schools and hence, can be a significant contributor to the consumption of contaminated water. The purpose of this study was to assess water quality from drinking water fountains in school settings, determine whether the fountains are a source of secondary contamination and evaluate some of the factors that may affect the levels of contaminants. METHODS: Water samples collected from ten water fountains located in five different buildings on WKU campus were analyzed. Each fountain was sampled four times yielding a total of 40 samples for investigation. Levels of Coliform Bacteria, E. coli, lead, copper, pH, temperature and turbidity were assessed for different times of the day and week. A multivariate analysis of covariance was used to compare mean values from each building. RESULTS: Mean concentrations of lead and copper in samples collected on Wednesdays were higher than those collected on Mondays and were also higher in the morning than in the evening samples. After controlling for turbidity and temperature, day of the week had a significant effect at the 0.01 level (p=0.007) on the concentrations of both lead and copper in the water from the sampled fountains. CONCLUSION: The distribution system for drinking water specifically water fountains, is a significant contributor to secondary water contamination. Monitoring agencies should put extra emphasis on the regulations surrounding the choice and maintenance of these systems.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1.Demonstrate the public health importance of proper maintenance of distribution systems for public drinking water especially in high density areas. 2.Identify one mode of possible contamination of drinking water. 3.List at least two possible contaminants of drinking water from water fountains. 4.Assess some of the factors that affect the level of contaminants in drinking water.

Keywords: Water Quality, Environmental Exposures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator in this research on water quality as well as co-principal of some others on alcohol and substance abuse. I have also been the principal investigator in internally funded grants on water quality research.
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.