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A Study of E. coli Contamination in Household Drinking Water: A Case Study in Rural Areas of Zhangye City, Northwest China

H. Liu1,2 *, and G. W. Huang1,2

  1. Institute for Studies of the Global Environment, Sophia University, 7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8554, Japan
  2. Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Sophia University, 7-1, Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8554, Japan

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +81-3-3238-4415; fax: +81-3-3238-4409. E-mail address: (H. Liu).


The objective of this study was to investigate Escherichia coli (E. coli) contamination in drinking water samples collected from a number of rural habitations of Zhangye City, Northwest China. A total of 37 villages along the Heihe River in Zhangye City were selected. The presence of E. coli was tested for using the MicroSnapTM E. coli Test Kit, which is a rapid bioluminogenic method for detection and enumeration of E. coli bacteria. Test results demonstrated that drinking water in 81.1% of the villages was contaminated with E. coli according to the Chinese Sanitary Standards for Domestic and Drinking Water. Majority of the higher E. coli CFU values were tested from villages located in the urban areas in Zhangye City. The data suggested that contamination of the drinking water in the rural habitations of Zhangye City was related to animal husbandry practices. In addition, the interactions of surface and groundwaters is not direct causes of the E. coli contamination found in Zhangye City. The occurrence of E. coli in drinking water may increase the risk of water-related diseases and health problems in local residents. It is therefore strongly recommended that solar energy technology be taken to protect water resources from contamination.

Keywords: E. coli contamination, drinking water safety, rural water supply, Heihe river basin, Zhangye City, solar energy sewage treatment

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