Timothy Terlumun Ornguga
Department of Biology, College of Education, Katsina-Ala
The physico-chemical analysis of 6 brands of sachet water sold on the campus of College of Education Katsina-Ala was evaluated to compare whether they met the specification of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Nigeria industrial standard (NIS) for drinking water. Parameters such as colour, taste/ odour, PH/chloride/ potassium/ calcium/ electric conductivity, oxygen demand (OD)/biological oxygen demand (BOD) and total dissolved solid (TDS) were evaluated. Coliform counts were determined using standard methods. Laboratory results showed that all samples met the physico-chemical standards of WHO & NIS. Although all the brands of sachet water did not conform with WHO and NIS standard of permissible coliform level for drinking water/ t-test result showed that there was no significant difference between the sachet water qualities and the WHO and NIS standard. The conclusion of this study based on the result is that the sachet water sold in the campus of College of Education Katsina-Ala is of good quality and is safe for human consumption. It is however recommended that producers of these sachet water should improve in the biological treatment of the water they produce.
Water (H20) is a polar inorganic compound that at room temperature is a colourless, tasteless and odourless liquid. Water is the main constituent of the Earth’s streams, lakes and oceans and the fluid of most living organisms.
Water plays a very important role in our body; it transports nutrients and oxygen into the cells, regulates body temperature, helps with metabolism, etc. Water is the most essential fluid to life on earth. The adequate supply of fresh and clean drinking water is a basic need for all human beings (Edema, Atayese, and Bankole, 2011).
One of the major challenges in most developing countries now is the provision of safe drinking water (Kulshershtha, 1998). National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) pays high premium to ensure drinking water is safe and aesthetically acceptable. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers water to be safe if it is free from physical and chemical substances and microorganisms below an amount that is not hazardous to health (Denloye, 2004).
In as much as it is not possible to eliminate one hundred percent of contaminants through a single purification method, water can be made safe for consumption within acceptable limits (Denloye, 2004).
Sachet water (“pure water” as it is popularly called in Nigeria) is any treated water, manufactured, packaged and distributed for sale in sealed food grade containers and intended for human consumption (Yusuf, Jimoh, Onaoiapo, and Dabo, 2015). The production of sachet water started in the late 90’s and has become one of the fastest growing industries today with advancement in scientific technology.
Water consumers are frequently unaware of the potential health hazards associated with exposures to water borne contaminants which have often led to diseases like
diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and parasitic diseases (Omalu, Eze, Olayemic, Gbesi, Adeniran, Ayanwale, Mohammed, and Chukwuemeka, 2011). The continuous sale and consumption of sachet water in Nigeria is a public health concern, as the prevalence of water-related diseases in developing countries is determined by the quality of their drinking water (Ezeugwunne, Agbakoba, and Anhalu, 2009).
Water is said to be pure when it is colourless, odourless and tasteless, with high boiling and melting points and high heat of vaporization. The quality of drinking water is evaluated based on its chemical components. This is done by assessing the PH, hardness, total alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, heavy metals and organic constituents (Denloye, 2004).
Consumption of sachet water in Nigeria is on the increase irrespective of whether such sachet water brands have NAFDAC certificate or not. Despite the strong effort by NAFDAC in the regulation and quality assessment of sachet water, there are growing numbers of reported public illnesses resulting from drinking sachet water. There are a number of reported cases of typhoid, diarrhoea and other water borne diseases arising from the consumption of sachet water (Ogamba, 2004). Sachet water serves as a major source of drinking water for students of College of Education Katsina-Ala.
This study is an assessment of the physicochemical and microbiological quality of the sachet water sold on the campus of College of Education Katsina-Ala in line with WHO and NIS standards for drinking water to determine whether it is suitable for drinking or not.
Materials and Methods
Six (6) brands of sachet water sold on the campus of College of Education Katsina-Ala were sampled. The brands were Barna, G-water, Joba, Seth, Tulip and Zema. The six brands of sachet water analyzed were produced in two different locations. Barna water and G water were produced in Gboko while Tulip, Seth, Zema and Joba water were produced in Katsina-Ala. The samples were stored in the refrigerator prior to analysis. This was done to maintain the characteristics of the samples. The following parameters were analyzed:- Potential of Hydrogen (pH), total hardness, calcium, chlorine, Biological Oxygen Demand (BOO), Oxygen Demand (OD), Electric Conductivity (Ec), turbidity and coliform count using standard laboratory techniques. The results obtained were compared with data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Nigeria Industrial Standard (NIS). The t-test was calculated to see if there was significant difference between them.
The results of the physico-chemical analysis of the six brands of sachet water and that of the coliform count, using most probable number (mpn) (Yusuf, Jimoh, Onaolapo, Dabo, 2015) are presented in Tables 1 and 2, respectively.
The result of physical observation showed that the sample did not appear to be turbid and each sample was also colourless, odourless and tasteless.
Chemical analysis showed that the level for all the chemical parameters fell within the acceptable range for all the brands of sachet water. The levels were within the confines of WHO and NIS.
The biological parameter analyzed were Oxygen Demand (OD), Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and coliform count. The result of the OD and BOD were within the specification of WHO and NIS limit of < 10 and <5 respectively. However of all the six brands of sachet water analyzed for coliform count only two (G-water & Barna water) met the WHO standard for drinking water but all the brands of sachet water met the NIS standard of 10 coliform count.
The implication of this result is that coliforms are found in four of the brands of the water sampled. This portends health implications depending on the type of coliform found.
However the t-test result indicates that the p-value was greater than 0.05, as such,
there was no significant difference between the coliform counts and physico-chemical properties of the sachet water with the WHO and NIS standard for drinking water.
Table 1. Physico-Chemical analysis of six brands of sachet water
|S/No||Brand of water||PH||Electric conductivity
|Chlorine Cl (mg/l)||Calcium
|TDS (Mg/l)||BDD (Mg/l)||OD (Mg/l)|
Table 2: Result of Coliform count or six brands of sachet water using most probable number (mpn) number of 5 tubes given positive result
The study analyzed the physical properties of six brands of sachet water sold on the campus of College of Education Katsina-Ala. All the brands of sachet water carried the seal of NAFDAC approval. All the brands of sachet water were devoid of odour, colour, taste and were clear. According to Denloye (2004), these determine the aesthetic value of the water. This is expected, as most of the manufacturing companies get their water supply from boreholes and subject it through industrial and micro-filters. These findings agree with Denloye (2004) and Alhassan, Iman, Yakasai, (2008).
The results of the chemical analysis of all the samples were found to fall within the confines of the limits approved by WHO and NIS. This agrees with the report of Alhassan, Iman, Yakasai, (2008); John, Fehintolu, Asabe (2010) and Samuel (2013).
The value of biological parameters were also within the limits of WHO and NIS standards. However, the result of Coliform count showed that only two brands of sachet water (Barna and G-water) met the WHO coliform count for drinking water. But all the six brands of sachet water met the quality standard set by NIS. These findings were consistent with the ones earlier reported by John, Fehintolu, Asabe (2010) and Samuel (2013).
This research was carried out to assess the physical, chemical and biological quality of sachet water sold on the campus of College of Education Katsina-Ala. Altogether, six brands of sachet water were analyzed. Findings showed that all the physical and chemical parameters conform to WHO and NIS standards. Most of the biological parameters also conform to the WHO and NIS N the standards, except Coliform count which only 40% met the WHO standard, while 100% of the samples conform to NIS standard.
The t-test result showed that there was no significant difference between the sachet water value with the WHO and NIS standard.
The overall results indicated that the sachet water sold on the campus of College of Education Katsina-Ala is safe for drinking. These findings, in the case of College of Education Katsina-Ala do not conform to those of the Institute of Public Health Analyst (IPAN) according to Osibanjo, Ajayi, Adebyi, Akinyankju, (2000), that 50% of the pure water sold on the streets of Lagos is not fit for human consumption.
However, the result of the biological coliform count of some brands of sachet water, according to WHO standards, portends some public health implications to consumers of such water. There is therefore, the need to improve the biological treatment of this water to meet the WHO standard for drinking water.
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