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Water Engineering and Development Centre

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Field water quality testing in emergencies [Quality Assurance: Andrew Cotton]

Author(s): Harvey, Peter  |  Cotton, Andrew

Publisher: WEDC
Place of publication: Loughborough University, UK
Year: 2007

Series: WELL Fact Sheet
Collection(s): WELL


In many emergency situations it is necessary to undertake rapid assessment of water sources to determine their suitability for the supply of drinking water to affected communities. A key aspect of this assessment is to determine the microbiological quality of the water in order to determine the water treatment requirements. Most conventional methods of microbiological water quality field testing rely on membrane filtration which is relatively difficult to apply in a precarious field situation and requires significant training in the operation of equipment. There are, however, alternative methods available on the market which offer improved ease of use. This factsheet describes some of the key options available, with their advantages and limitations, and outlines a recommended field approach for microbiological water quality testing in emergencies.

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