Evaluation of Water Quality in Shallow Wells at Mokowe Village in Lamu County
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Kenya Aquatica Journal
Inadequate supply of fresh piped water at Mokowe Village in Lamu County has forced the residents todepend on alternative water sources such as shallow wells for their daily needs such as shallow wells.However, most of the wells are located near residential houses less than 30 m from the pit latrines. Thiscloseness contaminates the aquifer that supplies water to the wells. Gastrointestinal infections areamong the challenges experienced in Mokowe Village. This study investigated the quality of waterin shallow wells at different times of the day. The objective of the study was to evaluate the physicochemicalparameters and microbial contamination of water from two main shallow wells, namelySalim Hassan and Baoni, with respect to their distance from the pit latrines. Water samples from Himwatap was collected as a control. Total coliforms and Escherichia coli (E.coli) were analyzed by the mostprobable number (MPN) method. Physicochemical parameters analyzed were fluorides, nitrates, iron,sodium, potassium, pH, total dissolved solids (TDS), chloride, magnesium, calcium and total hardness,These were determined using DR 6000 Spectrophotometer, flame photometer, pH meter gravimetricanalysis and wet methods (titration) respectively. Odour and taste were determined using organolepticmethods while colour was analyzed using a colour comparator. Total coliforms and Escherichia colilevels in the two wells were very high in the rainy season compared to dry season while Himwa tapwater had no E.coli. However, total coliforms counts in Himwa tap water was beyond the permissiblelevels given by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). Chloride, nitrate, sodium, potassiumand calcium were beyond the allowable Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) provided byNEMA. Levels of pH for all the water samples were within the NEMA standards. The results indicate thatwater from the two main shallow wells were highly contaminated hence prompt chlorination and waterquality monitoring should be undertaken. It was recommended that the public health office shouldensure compliance on distance from the buildings when a new well is being constructed.