• Reservoirs of faecal indicator bacteria in well-head hand pumps in Bangladesh

      Osborne, Thomas H.; Ward, Seamus A.; Ahmed, Kazi M.; Santini, Joanne M. (IWA publishing, 2018-04-20)
      The majority of the population of Bangladesh (90%) rely on untreated groundwater for drinking and domestic use. At the point of collection, 40% of these supplies are contaminated with faecal indicator bacteria (FIB). Recent studies have disproved the theory that latrines discharging to shallow aquifers are the major contributor to this contamination. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that hand pumps are a reservoir of FIB. We sampled the handle, spout, piston and seal from 19 wells in Araihazar Upazila, Bangladesh and identified that the spout and seal were reservoirs of FIB. These findings led to our recommendation that well spouts be regularly cleaned, including the removal of precipitated deposits, and that the seals be regularly changed. It is envisaged that one or both of these interventions will reduce the numbers of FIB in drinking water, thereby reducing the burden of diarrhoeal disease in Bangladesh.