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The relationship between rainfall and well water pollution in a West African (Gambian) villaǵe

  • R. A. E. Barrell (a1) (a2) and M. G. M. Rowland (a1) (a2)
Summary

Water pollution was monitored in six Gambian village wells over a period of 8 months spanning the 5-month monomodal rains and the pre- and post-rains dry periods. Faecal coliform (FC) and faecal streptococci (FS) counts were high throughout and there was a massive increase associated with the onset of the rains, maximum counts exceeding 5 x 105/100 ml. This pattern was largely sustained throughout the rainy season. Some individual variations in patterns of pollution could be ascribed to well design, in particular lining of the shaft, but no well was protected from the seasonal increase in faecal pollution. The source of the increased pollution appeared to be a flushing in of faecal material of indeterminate or mixed human and animal origin, probably over considerable distances. Peaks of pollution not associated with rainfall episodes could have resulted from the practice of communal laundering in the near vicinity of the wells. Specific pathogens including Salmonella spp. were isolated only intermittently. Attention has been drawn to a problem complicating the standard method for assessing FC counts.

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References
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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