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Physiochemical Analysis of Stream Water and Bottle Water

Physiochemical Analysis of Stream Water and Bottle Water

Physiochemical Analysis of Stream Water and Bottle Water

Chapter One


The aim of this study was to carry out bacteriological and physicochemical quality assessment of bottled and stream water in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria.

Objectives were to:

  1. Determine the bacteriological quality and physicochemical properties of bottled and stream water.
  2. Isolate and characterize Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Enterococcus spp in the water samples
  3. Determine the antibiotic susceptibility patterns of the isolates to commonly used antibiotics and screen for the presence of multiple antibiotic resistance
  4. Screen the Escherichia coli O157:H7 for the possession of extended spectrum β-lactamases genes (bla-CTX-M and bla-TEM) and virulence shigatoxin genes (Stx1 and Stx2) using the polymerase chain Reaction (PCR)
  5. Confirm Enterococcus using genus specific primer and detect the Vancomycin resistance gene (VANR) in Enterococcus  isolated.



 Physicochemical Quality of Drinking Water

A number of chemical contaminants have been shown to cause adverse health effects in humans as a consequence of prolonged exposure through drinking-water (WHO, 2008; Dunn et al., 2014). There are many chemicals that may occur in drinking- water; however, only a few are of immediate health concern in any given circumstance, examples include fluoride, arsenic, lead, and nitrate (WHO, 2008). Exposure to high levels of fluoride, which occurs naturally, can lead to mottling of teeth and, in severe cases, crippling skeletal fluorosis. Similarly, arsenic may occur naturally, and excess exposure to arsenic in drinking-water may result in a significant risk of cancer and skin lesions. Iron and manganese are of widespread significance because of their effects on acceptability.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) comprise inorganic salts, principally calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides and sulfates, and small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water (Grayson et al., 2012).


The pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution and could also be defined as the negative of the logarithm to the base 10 of the hydrogen ion concentration (Sarker and Sathasivan, 2012).

  • Electricalconductivity (EC): Electrical conductivity is a function of ions concentration in a water sample. It is a measure of how much total salts are present in the  It can serve as an indicator of water quality (Sarker and Sathasivan, 2012).

Chlorine and chloride

Chloride in drinking-water originates from natural sources, sewage and industrial effluents. Excessive chloride concentrations increase rates of corrosion of metals in the distribution system, depending on the alkalinity of the water (WHO, 2008). This can lead to increased concentrations of metals in the supply. In water, chlorine reacts to form hypochlorous acid and hypochlorites. However, it is normal practice to supply water with a chlorine residual of a few tenths of a milligram per litre to act as a preservative only during distribution.

Nitrate and nitrite

The nitrate concentration in groundwater and surface water is normally low but can reach high levels as a result of leaching or runoff from agricultural land or contamination from human or animal wastes as a consequence of the oxidation of ammonia and similar sources (WHO, 2008). Toxicologically, the primary health concern regarding nitrate and nitrite is the formation of methaemoglobinaemia, so- called “blue-baby syndrome.” Nitrate is reduced to nitrite in the stomach of infants, and nitrite is able to oxidize haemoglobin (Hb) to methaemoglobin (metHb), which is unable to transport oxygen around the body. The reduced oxygen transport becomes clinically manifest when metHb concentrations reach 10% or more of normal Hb concentrations; the condition, called methaemoglobinaemia, causes cyanosis and, at higher concentrations, asphyxia (WHO, 2008).

Heavy metals

Heavy metals could be defined as elements with atomic number greater than 22 and a density greater than 5g/ml (Tewari and Vivekanand, 2013).

Sources of Heavy metal contamination in water include discharge from industrial by-products such as fertilizer production plants and mining activities (Tewari and Vivekanand, 2013).


Cadmium is released to the environment through wastewater, and diffuse pollution is caused by contamination from fertilizers and local air pollution. Contamination in drinking-water may also be caused by impurities in the zinc of galvanized pipes and solders and some metal fittings (Kumar, 2012). Toxicologically, Cadmium accumulates primarily in the kidneys and has a long biological half-life (10– 35 years) in humans (Kumar, 2012).


Lead is toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems, inducing subencephalopathic neurological and behavioural effects. There is electrophysiological evidence of effects on the nervous system in children with blood lead levels well below 30mg/dl (WHO, 2003). The intake of lead from drinking-water constitutes a greater proportion of total lead (Pb) intake (‘Water meters meet lead-free rules’, 2011).


Iron is one of the most abundant metals in the Earth’s crust. It is found in natural fresh waters at levels ranging from 0.5 to 50 mg/litre (Allred, 2011). Iron may also be present in drinking-water as a result of the use of iron coagulants or the corrosion of steel and cast iron pipes during water distribution. Iron is an essential element in human nutrition.


Chromium is widely distributed in the Earth’s crust. It can exist in valences of +2 to +6. In general, food appears to be the major source of intake (He et al., 2014). The Provisional guideline value is 0.05 mg/litre for total chromium (WHO, 2008).




Sampling Sites

Five sampling sites were selected in Zaria for this study. These sites include; Samaru , Wusasa, Tudunwada , Zaria city and Sabongari. The map of Zaria is shown in Figure 3.1.

  • Study Design: This study was a cross-sectional
  • Sample Size: The sample size for this study was determined using the following formula as described by (Naing et al., 2006).



Physicochemical Properties of the Bottled and stream water in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria.

Table 4.1 shows the mean physicochemical properties of the well water samples from the five sampling sites, Samaru (W1), Tudun-wada (W2), Wusasa (W3), Zaria city (W4), and Sabon-gari (W5). The result shows that there was no significant difference in pH of the well water samples collected from the different sampling sites. However, the pH of all the well water samples were bellow the (6.5-8.5) recommended limits of NAFDAC except sampling site W4 with a mean ±SE value of 6.55±0.14. The result also revealed that there were significant differences in turbidity of the well water samples collected from the different sampling sites. These differences in order of increasing turbidity were W3˂W1˂W5˂W2˂W4. However, the turbidity of the well water samples from sampling sites W2, W4, and W5 with mean ±SE values of 8.32±0.12NTU, 13.87±0.22NTU, and 6.95±0.01NTU were above the permissible limit (≤5NTU) of NAFDAC.




The results obtained in this study showed that the borehole, well, sachet- bottled and bottled waters in Zaria are of variable physicochemical quality. However, turbidity (60%), total dissolved solids (40%), and electrical conductivity (40%) of the well water sampled were above the minimum recommended standard by NAFDAC and WHO while nitrate (100%) of all the well water sampled were above the USEPA recommended minimum contamination limits. This is critical because Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the maximum contaminant level could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die of blue-baby syndrome (Methaemoglobinemia). Also, the pH of (80%) of the sampled well water were below the recommended range (6.5-8.5) of NAFDAC and WHO. In the borehole water sampled, the pH of five (100%) sampled sites were below the standard recommended range (6.5-8.5) of NAFDAC and WHO. nitrate levels in (40%) of the sampled borehole water were above the minimum contamination level (10mg/l) of USEPA. There was no significant difference between the pH value of the borehole water (5.93) and well water (6.18) in Zaria. Also, there was no significant difference in the turbidity and alkalinity values of the borehole water and sachet-bottled drinking water. The sachet-bottled and bottled water brands sampled in this study were of good physicochemical qualities since values were within the acceptable limits set by NAFDAC. There was no significant difference between the physicochemical parameters in borehole likewise sachet-bottled water during the wet and dry season except phosphate of the sachet-bottled water with higher mean value during the dry season. In the well water, significant difference was recorded in the dissolved oxygen, temperature and phosphate where the dry season recorded the highest values. In the borehole and well water samples analysed, the Cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb), and Iron (Fe) contents of the various sampling sites in Zaria were above the minimum contamination levels set by NAFDAC. All the sachet-bottled water sampled recorded high levels of Cadmium (Cd) and Lead (Pb) which were above the minimum permissible limits established by NAFDAC. In the bottled water brands, Lead was not detected in all the five brands sampled. The Cadmium content of well water, borehole water and sachet- bottled water were not statistically significantly different. However, there was a significant difference in the Lead (Pb) and Iron across different water types studied.

Results of the bacteriological quality assessment obtained in this study showed that total coliform and Escherichia coli was detected in (80%) of the brands of sachet- bottled water and (20%) in the bottled water brands. Faecal coliform and thermotholerant Escherichia coli was detected in eight (80%) of the sachet drinking water but however not detected in all the brands of the bottled water investigated. All the borehole and well waters sampled from five different sampling sites were contaminated with total coliform, faecal coliform, thermotolerant Escherichia coli and enterococci except in very few occasions. There were no statistically significant differences between the total coliform counts of the sachet water and borehole water in Zaria. However, the sachet-bottled water was found to be more contaminated with total coliform, faecal coliform and Escherichia coli. Therefore, the borehole water was of relatively better microbiological quality than the sachet-bottled water sold in Zaria. Higher bacteriological counts were recorded during the wet season than in the dry season across all sample types. Ciprofloxacin (100%), Gentamicin (90%) and Chloramphenicol (90%) were the most active antibiotics against Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolates in this study. There was high level resistance of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (80%) and Enterococcus spp (37.6%) to commonly used antibiotics with MAR indices of 0.3 and above. Rapid detection of Enterococcus was carried out using the genus specific primer ENT1 which showed amplification of the expected 112bp tuf gene through the PCR technique. VANR gene was not detected in Enterococcus. Although, 4(25%) of the Enterococcus exhibited phenotypic resistance to Vancomycin. This provides further indication of the emergence of Vancomycin resistance Enterococcus in the environment. the Stx1 and Stx2 genes from the Escherichia coli O157:H7 could not be detected in this study however, Multidrug resistance Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolates were confirmed with primer amplification of the extended spectrum β-lactamase genes; (bla-CTX-M and bla TEM-1) which codes for multidrug resistances penicillins, cephalosporins and carbapenems. This is an emerging challenge and a confirmation of multidrug resistant bacteria in stream water in Zaria.


The nitrate level in samples of the wells (100%) and borehole (40%) water were above the United States environmental protection agency (USEPA) minimum contamination level of 10mg/l. Cadmium (Cd) and Lead (Pb) contents of boreholes, wells, and brands of sachet waters were above the minimum permissible limits set by NAFDAC (0.003mg/l and 0.01mg/l respectively). However, Lead (Pb) was not detected in the bottled water brands sampled. Total coliforms and Escherichia coli were detected in sachet water brands (80%), bottled water brands (20%), borehole (100%) and well water (100%). Enterococci were recovered from sachet water brands (70%), borehole (100%) and well water (100%). There were no statistically significant differences (P≤0.05) between the total coliform counts of the sachet water brands and borehole water in Zaria, therefore, the purity of sachet water as claimed by the manufacturers is doubtful. Bacteriological counts were higher during the wet season than dry season. Antibiogram of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (80%) and Enterococcus spp (37.6%) isolates showed multiple antibiotics resistance (MAR) with MAR indices of 0.3 and above. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified some housekeeping genes such as tuf gene of Enterococcus genus and antibiotics resistance genes such as glycopeptides Vancomycin and teicoplanin resistance gene VANR. Escherichia coli O157:H7 extended spectrum β-lactamase genes: bla-TEM and bla-CTX-M genes. Most of the sachet water brands fell below NAFDAC and WHO drinking water standards


The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) should intensify efforts in the routine monitoring of activities in the bottled drinking water industry. Testing of market samples will be a good way of detecting if the water is actually pure as claimed by these producing companies.

It is advisable that Well water, shallow contaminated boreholes and municipal tap water should be avoided as sources of raw water for the production of bottled drinking. Ground waters such as boreholes when properly constructed and maintained provide a relatively safer source of raw water in terms of microbial load compared to unprotected water sources such as river, spring and well waters.

Appropriate treatment processes should be utilised for production of quality and safe bottled drinking waters while regulatory agencies should stipulate adequate sanitation and hygienic practices as a condition for routine recertification of bottled water producers in Nigeria.

  • Receptacles for drawing water from open wells should be kept clean and permanently attached to a windlass when not in use; Well lids must be kept dry and clean and should be constructed as a single unit. Wells should be sited at higher elevations so as not to serve as a sink during rainfall; Wells should be sited at least 30 m away from septic tanks, latrines and rubbish dumps; access to wells and boreholes by domestic and grazing animals should be restricted by
  • Legal framework shouldbe put in place at the national level to put stringent laws to regulate the citing of wells and boreholes, as findings from this study corroborate observations of Erah et al. (2002) that indiscriminate sinking of boreholes and wells without proper geological surveys contributes to the presence of faecal coliform in underground water.
  • Enactment of appropriate legislations to regulate the handling and disposal of e-waste and lead accumulators by battery chargers in order to control pollution of the environment by lead wastes is likewise
  • The local mass media should disseminate information on the need for a more careful handling and disposal of materials that contain heavy metals such as lead especially lead paints.
  • Intensive education of the Nigerian population on correct treatment procedures of water for domestic use should be done on the electronic media especially TV and radio on continual basis.
  • It is recommended here that mothers should practice six months exclusive breastfeeding of babys to avoid babys from being exposed to the intake of contaminated water with high nitrate levels which could cause blue baby syndrome (Methaemoglobinaemia).
  • Itis also recommended here that chlorinating agents be provided by the government at heavily subsidized prices to trained personnel to assist in the elimination of pathogenic microorganisms in the untreated water
  • Most importantly, the government at all levels in Nigeria should also be admonished and take the issue of supply of adequately treated water to the public as an essential public.


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