272485 A survey of drinking water quality in the Milot region of Haiti

Monday, October 29, 2012

Andrew Hwang, MD/MPH Class of 2014 , Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
James Hyde, MA/SM , Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, MA
Janet Forrester, PhD , Department of Public Health, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
Luke Ascolillo, MS/MPH , Environmental Epidemiology Lab, Tufts University, Boston, MA
Harold Previl, MD , CRUDEM, Milot, Haiti
BACKGROUND The recent cholera outbreak in Haiti underscores the urgency of providing access to clean drinking water. Clean drinking water and sanitation are still the core elements of any effort to decrease overall morbidity and mortality.

METHODS & MATERIALS We surveyed 57 different water sources in Milot, Haiti. Variables studied were: location, source type, turbidity, ambient temperature, barometric pressure, WHO contamination risk score, and presence/absence of total coliform and E. coli. Data were collected between June and July 2011. The location of each site was mapped using GPS furnished coordinates. Total coliform and E. coli were detected using IDEXX Coliert test kits.

RESULTS Eight of the locations surveyed were dry, leaving 49 potable water sources tested. 43 (87.8%) tested positive, with 31(63.3%) positive for both E. coli and coliform, and 12 (24.5%) positive for coliform alone. 6(12.2%) were negative for both. The most common sources surveyed were wells with hand pumps (N=19). Wells with hand pumps had the lowest proportion of coliform and E. coli positive water samples (17.7%), while all water samples from hand-dug wells (N=16) were positive for both coliform and E. coli. There was no association between WHO risk scores and sample contamination results (p>.25).

CONCLUSION Our findings suggest that a large proportion of the population in Milot rely on contaminated water sources. Some of these sources could be decontaminated relatively easily, while others need to be abandoned, relocated, or rebuilt. In the interim, "bridging strategies" (e.g. filtration, chlorination, and solar disinfection) will need to be used.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the quality of drinking water sources in the Milot Valley region of Haiti 2. Demonstrate the importance of improving the quality of drinking water in light of the current cholera epidemic in Haiti 3. Discuss potential methods of providing safe drinking water

Keywords: Water Test, Drinking Water Quality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was directly involved in the planning and collection of data from 57 different water sources around the Milot Valley region of Haiti between June and July 2011. Also, I drafted the final report, which was distributed to key stakeholders in Milot as well as other potential NGO collaborators interested in contributing to improvedrinking water sources in the region.
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.