Drinking Water: Microbiological Monitoring and Management; A Case Study

E. Potgieter, A.H. Hiemstra, B.J. Barnes, P.J.C. Wagener, L.E.v.R. v. Oudtshoorn, and J.S. Phooko (South Africa)


Drinking water, microbiological monitoring and management.


South Africa has standards and guidelines regarding drinking water quality. There is however, an understandable reluctance to inform the public to boil water for human consumption, should the quality of drinking water not comply with the standards and recommendations contained in the guidelines. Although a boil water alert is a generally accepted procedure in overseas countries, this has only on very rare occasions been done in South Africa. Drinking water that does not comply with the guidelines/standards has the potential to cause disease in large numbers of people. On the other hand, a boil water alert could cause panic in an uninformed community that has never encountered such an alert. Problems continuously experienced in the Mangaung Local Municipality region over the hot October to February months, compelled the role players; Water Service Providers and the Municipal Health Division, in this area, to develop a microbiological response and management protocol. The purpose of this paper therefore is twofold, firstly to describe the development of a plan of action to be followed when the microbiological quality of the drinking water does not comply with the standards or guidelines, as well as a case study demonstrating implementation of the plan.

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