Bacteriological Assessment of Water Storage Cans Used By Primary Schools Pupils


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MARCH, 2023



This research work titled “bacteriological assessment of water storage cans used by primary school pupils” aimed at determining the bacteria associated with water stored in storage cans. Microbial techniques such as culturing, Gram staining and biochemical tests were used for characterization and identification of the microorganisms. From the study, it can be seen that storage cans used by pupils are highly contaminated as microbial loads of the samples analysed were high ( i.e 2,300 to 20,000 colonies). And also the bacteria isolated were both gram negative and gram positive and they include Escherichia coli, salmonella typhi, staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus faecali, bacillus cereus, vibrio cholerae and sarcina ventriculi. These organisms are pathogenic and capable of causing health problems in pupils.

The study therefore recommends proper treatment of water and regular washing of storage cans with detergent and clean water to disinfect any bacteria present in the can and avoid adverse health effects in children. Also proper water treatment plants should be made available by the appropriate authorities to ensure adequate water supplies and removal of contaminating bacteria from water sources before storage in cans.


Bacteriological Assessment of Water Storage Cans Used By Primary Schools Pupils




1.1       Background of the Study

Water is essential to all living things. According to F. Batmangheligj (1998), “25% of the human body is made up of solid matter while the remaining 75% is made up of water”. Safe water is colourless, odourless, tasteless and free from faecal contamination (Ezeugwunneet al.2009). Estimation by World Health Organization (WHO) states that about 3 million children below 5 years of age from developing countries die every year due to diarrhoea diseases by drinking polluted water. Higher levels of microbial contamination are associated with storage vessels by introduction of hands that can carry faecal matter (FOS, 1995 and Onigbogi and Ogunyemi, 2014).

For improving and protecting the quality of water to these storage cans used by primary pupils, effective, affordable and sustainable intervention strategies are required (CDC, 2001; Sobsey 2002; Krieger et al. 2002; UNICEF, 2008). Water may become contaminated at any point between collection, storage serving at homes (Nala et al. 2003 and Tambekar et al. 2006).

Efforts were made to study the effect of storage of water in different cans by comparing the total population of coliform bacteria present in the water and water l cans before and after storage for different period. A review of studies carried by the World Bank gives the evidence that incidence of water borne disease are related to the quality and quantity of water and sanitation available to users. (Iken et al., 2008) highlights that in a contaminated water organism especially of the enterobacteriaccence group e.g; Escherichia coli, Enterbacter, Salmonella typhi are highly contaminated in water. In order to prevent the outbreak of the water, there are needs to preserve and treat water supplied to towns and cities (Cabell, 2007).

Similar studies by Momba and Kaleni (2002), Momba and Notshe (2003) have also shown that water stored in plastic based materials, are able to support more bacterial incorporation into biofilms on their interior surfaces than those made of metal based materials. Their studies also revealed that plastic based containers have a greater affinity to support the incorporation of faecalcoliforms into biofilm structures.

Vander Merwe et al. (2013) reported that these biofilms can act as reservoirs for pathogenic microorganisms, that can, through growth and detachment, be responsible for most of the planktonic cells found in the aqueous environment. This is of great concern as storage of untreated water supplies which may be contaminated with pathogens such as P. aeruginosa, S. epidermidis, E. coli, S. aureus, E. cloacae, K. pneumoniae can provide an ideal environment for microbial proliferation and biofilm formation. This study was designed to monitor the development and quantify biofilms formation in different water storage containers, using viable and total coliform counts as indicators. A second objective was to isolate and characterize organism that may possibly be responsible for the biofilm formation.


1.2       Statement of Problem

In urban communities, drinking water are sourced from wells, springs, rainfall e.t.c. This water before taken is not given any form of treatment. These have caused the high rate of water borne diseases. Ikeh et al (2008) explains that the outbreak of water borne diseases is alarming and have resulted to death of the infected individuals as a result of poor response by medical practitioners to these problems. He further states that an outbreak of water borne disease is gradually becoming an epidemic if adequate steps are not taken to combat it.

Apart from urban communities, people also in rural areas do not have good source of water as well as storage containers thereby making people such as primary pupils victims of the effect of drinking the water.

These statements thereby prompt the need for an analysis to be conducted on water storage cans used by primary pupils.


Bacteriological Assessment of Water Storage Cans Used By Primary Schools Pupils

1.3       Objectives of the Study

  1. To attain the total bacterial count of the water storage cans.
  2. To determine the most preferable water storage cans that can be used by primary pupils to help lower the number of bacteria present in the cans.
  3. To determine the species of bacteria present in the water storage cans used by primary pupils.


1.4       Significance of the Study

This study present the background to the assessment of water storage cans to determine whether disease causing bacteria are present in water, and I would ensure that prevention such as adequate treatment of water and techniques such as proper treatment and care of water storage cans is taken into consideration for the health benefit of primary pupils thereby ensuring the control of its emergencies.

1.5       Research Question

  1. What effect do different storage cans have on the health of primary pupils?
  2. How do we ensure that these storage cans are free by bacteria?
  3. Which storage can is most effective and preferable for storing of water?
  4. Which species of bacteria are present in the water storage cans?

Bacteriological Assessment of Water Storage Cans Used By Primary Schools Pupils

1.6       Scope of Study

The study covers identification of bacteria organisms in water storage cans and also to determine the bacteria load of microorganisms in the sourced water.

1.7       Limitations of the Study

The study was limited in different aspects by the following challenges:

  1. Time constraint
  2. Difficulty in getting the reagents as a result of the increase in price of the reagents caused by the pandemic as well.
  3. Insufficient funds.
  4. Inadequate power supply.
  5. Difficulties in acquiring samples


1.8       Definition of Terms

Bacteria: Based on Wikipedia definition, bacterium is a type of biological cell, they constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Bacteria are microscopic, single-celled organisms that thrive in diverse environments. These organisms can live in soil, the ocean and inside the human gut.

Water: Is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and colourless liquid substance, which is the main constituent of the Earth’s hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms.

Storage: The action or method of storing something for future use.

Assessment: The act of evaluating.

Pathogen: A pathogen is usually defined as a microorganism that causes or can cause disease. A pathogen is also a microbe that can cause damage in a host.

Pupils: The Cambridge English dictionary defines a pupil as a person, especially a child at school who is being taught by an expert.

Culture medium: culture medium is a solid, liquid or semi-solid designed to support the growth of a population of microorganisms or cells via the process of cell proliferation.

Microorganisms: Are organisms that are too small to be seen by the unaided eyes except through the microscope.

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