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Faeces found in Kampala tap water

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd August 2007 03:00 AM

KAMPALA tap water is contaminated with germs that cause cholera, a report of the Kawempe health division inspector, David Ssemwanga, has revealed.

KAMPALA tap water is contaminated with germs that cause cholera, a report of the Kawempe health division inspector, David Ssemwanga, has revealed.

By Gerald Tenywa

KAMPALA tap water is contaminated with germs that cause cholera, a report of the Kawempe health division inspector, David Ssemwanga, has revealed.

“The bacteriological analysis revealed the presence of faecal coliforms in the three samples that were taken,” the report stated. It was referring to samples taken on July 30 from Bwaise II, Mulago II and Kyebando parishes.

Faecal coliform is a bacteria found in faeces used as indicators of faecal contamination of water supplies, basically animal or human wastes found in water systems.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there should not be any trace of coliforms in drinking water.
“If the doses are very high, faecal coliforms cause cholera, diarrhoea and dysentery,” said Robert Odongo, an environment inspector in the Health Ministry. “Many people drink water contaminated with low doses, causing only a stomach upset.”

Doses above 50 colonies per 100ml are considered very high. The water sample from Kyebando parish showed 64 colonies, Mulago II 58 colonies and Bwaise II 37 colonies.

Reports from Rubaga and Nakawa divisions reportedly also showed the presence of the germ.

As a result, the turbidity levels of the water samples were very high. Turbidity is a measure of the degree to which the water loses its transparency due to the presence of suspended particles.

The World Health Organisation establishes that the turbidity of drinking water should not be more than 5 NTU, and should ideally be below 1 NTU.
The turbidity levels of the water samples taken from Kawempe division range between 75 and 200. The highest levels were found in Mulago II parish on July 27 and Kyebando parish on July 28, 40 times the acceptable limit.

Ssemwanga submitted his report yesterday to the Kampala District Director of medical services and the Ministry of Health.

“On July 25 we experienced an unusual phenomenon in the water that was flowing through the National Corporation network and it prompted us to conduct this exercise,’’ said Ssemwanga.

The Ministry of Health is concerned about the findings. “We advise the residents of Kampala to boil the water before drinking,” Odongo said. “Chlorine tablets can also be used to treat water in homes.”

The Managing Director of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Dr. William Muhairwe, has dismissed the reports, insisting that the city’s tap water is safe for human consumption.

“The water that is currently being served is safe apart from the colour,” said Muhairwe. “There is no need for alarm because the water does not have bacterial contamination.”

He argues that the water may have been contaminated from elsewhere, for instance the water tanks of hotels which people do not regularly clean up.

Sources within NEMA (National Environment Management Authority) said the bacteria from faeces gets into water because most of the human excreta in Kampala City flows into Lake Victoria through Nakivubo channel.

Only 8% of Kampala’s 1.5 million people have access to the sewer pipes operated by NWSC.

The Nakivubo wetland, where the waste water from Kampala used to be filtered before entering Lake Victoria, is shrinking due to rampant encroachment.

Faeces found in Kampala tap water

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