Sanitation Mapping of Groundwater Contamination in a Rural Village of India


Availability of clean water and adequate sanitation facilities are of prime importance for limiting diarrheal diseases. We examined the spatial information on the groundwater quality and sanitation facilities of a village in southern India using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. Place of residence, position of wells and latrines were mapped and well water samples were tested for microbial contamination (Total Coliform Counts (TCC), Fecal Coliform Counts (FCC) and Fecal Streptococcal Counts (FSC)). A well structured questionnaire was administered to 50 residents of the selected areas to elicit information on water collection, handling and storage. The location and distances of wells from latrines were determined using the Global Positioning System (GPS) device and a tape rule respectively. Data on 170 cases of various water-borne diseases were collected from primary health centers in the study area. Groundwater in the village was found to be microbiologically unfit for consumption. Analysis using direct observations supplemented by GIS maps revealed poor planning, design of the wells and improper siting of wells from latrines which were found to be the possible reasons of groundwater contamination. There was a significant difference in TCC between covered and uncovered wells (p < 0.01) but no significant differences were observed in the FCC, FSC and well covering. The mean distance (6.44 ± 2.37 m) of wells from the latrines in the study area was below the limit (15.24 m or 50 ft) set by United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). TCC and FCC increased with a decrease in distance between the wells and latrines with a significance (p < 0.01). A moderate negative correlation (r = -0.593, r = -0.470) was ensued between the distance from latrine and coliform count. This study accentuates the need to set standards for the siting of wells from latrines and need for treatment.

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Megha, P. , Kavya, P. , Murugan, S. and Harikumar, P. (2015) Sanitation Mapping of Groundwater Contamination in a Rural Village of India. Journal of Environmental Protection, 6, 34-44. doi: 10.4236/jep.2015.61005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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