Assessment of microbiological quality of drinking water from household tanks in Bermuda

Bermuda residents collect rainwater from rooftops to fulfil their freshwater needs. The objective of this study was to assess the microbiological quality of drinking water in household tanks throughout Bermuda. The tanks surveyed were selected randomly from the electoral register. Governmental officers visited the selected household (n = 102) to collect water samples and administer a short questionnaire about the tank characteristics, the residents' habits in terms of water use, and general information on the water collecting system and its maintenance. At the same time, water samples were collected for analysis and total coliforms and Escherichia coli were determined by 2 methods (membrane filtration and culture on chromogenic media, Colilert kit). Results from the 2 methods were highly correlated and showed that approximately 90% of the samples analysed were contaminated with total coliforms in concentrations exceeding 10 CFU/100 mL, and approximately 66% of samples showed contamination with E. coli. Tank cleaning in the year prior to sampling seems to protect against water contamination. If rainwater collection from roofs is the most efficient mean for providing freshwater to Bermudians, it must not be considered a source of high quality drinking water because of the high levels of microbial contamination.
Authors (Zotero)
Lévesque, B.; Pereg, D.; Watkinson, E.; Maguire, J. S.; Bissonnette, L.; Gingras, S.; Rouja, P.; Bergeron, M. G.; Dewailly, E.
Date (Zotero)
Junio, 2008