Compliance to bacteriological standards for bottled drinking water sold in Lusaka District Zambia
Chisala, Meki D.
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Many people in Zambia and world over perceive bottled water as safe for consumption. However, studies have indicated that not all bottled water is up to standards. This study aimed at establishing compliance to bacteriological quality standards of bottled drinking water sold in Lusaka district and also at establishing factors associated with compliance to standards by water bottling companies. A cross sectional study was conducted in Lusaka district from December 2013 to July 2014. The study population consisted of 14 selected water bottling companies and a total of 116 workers. Data was collected through water sampling and oral guided interviews with regular workers and supervisors including observations for triangulation purposes. Interviews were used to obtain information about the factors associated with compliance with standards and water samples to get information about the bacteriological quality of water and level of compliance. Water was sampled from selected companies and at the market (supermarkets, grocery shops and other distribution centres). A total of 56 samples of bottled water were collected, four for each brand of which two were drawn from the companies and two from the market at a 10 to 14 days interval. Water was tested for total and faecal coliform using membrane filtration technique. Data was entered in EPI data version 3 and analysed using Stata version 11 to get summary statistics, p-values, odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. A total of 112 water bacteriological testing were conducted consisting of 56 tests for faecal coliform and 56 for total coliform. The study revealed 8.90 percent of analysed samples positive for both faecal and total coliforms in every 100ml of water. The level of faecal and total coliforms contamination ranged from two coliform forming units (cfu) to too numerous to count (TNTC) and nine cfu to TNTC for faecal and total coliforms respectively. The study also revealed that out of 14 companies sampled, five (35.7 percent) companies were not complying with standards. Knowledge on standards was the only factor associated with compliance with a p - value of 0.016 and adjusted odds ratio of 0.139.The study revealed that not all water sold in Lusaka district was of good quality and only 64% of the companies complied with standards. It is therefore, important that all stakeholders involved in bottled water in Zambia work together to ensure water sold to the public is up to standards.