Water testing Kits for Pakistan
I would like to have your advice about this procurement? Have you ever used Wagtech kits?
On Internet I could find one discussion about those products, but I doubt the discussion is about same kit because Wagtech is saying that they usually only supply it to Unicef/WHO: http://www.watersanitationhygiene.org/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=1032#p103 2
With ACF and Merlin in DR Congo we only used the simple DelAgua. I feel that here we could use a kit a little bit more elaborate given possible presence of other contaminant in the soil because of use of chemical for agriculture, presence of salt in water, etc.
Many soils in Sindh are salinised due to poor irrigation drainage and so it is not uncommon to have salty soil and much of the shallow groundwater is brackish. Simple EC/pH meters will suffice to determine the relative problem in terms of salinity.
If there is a concern over agro-chemicals then I suggest that it would be more appropriate to collect samples and have then tested in a water quality labotory. I will see if I can find out details of which labs we use with the water quality testing we get done. I will also ask for names of reputable local supplers of water quality kits - importing may be problematic through customs etc.
Further to your TSS request on water testing for Pakistan and James's suggestion on electrical conductivity meters for salinity I would add that there has been a widespread problem of arsenic contamination of the groundwater in Pakistan, including in Sindh province. The following two links that I found on the Internet discuss simple arsenic tests but there is a lot more out there on the net about this.
Palintest have comprehensive range of testing equipment for both water and soil, which includes photometers that can detect organophosphates and heavy metals. I have used the 7100 in field conditions and it is versatile, fairly easy to use and is robust. The link to their product range is below.
Unfortunately I cannot provide an exhaustive list of what you should test for, the list is long. Normal practice in the field is to use the Delagua or the Wagtech (they both carry out the same test) to test for the presence of e.coli and to use their presence as an indication of faecal contamination. As such the microbiological test kits do not test for specific pathogens, and it is assumed that if e.coli are not present then there is no faecal contamination and that the water is safe. This is one of the reasons why chlorination is such a popular form of water treatment, you can test for a residual chlorine level and if it is between 0.2 to 0.5 mg/l after 30 minutes of contact time it can be assumed that the water is safe. Or at least free from biological contamination (see the Sphere Standards and the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality
The latter provides an extensive list of organic and non-organic chemicals found in water and provides summary sheets on possible health effects and recommended permissable concentrations. This assumption is based on the idea that bacteria are responsible for the majority of outbreaks of diarroheal diseases in water supply. Evidence is emerging that viruses such as rotavirus may be as common a cause of illness as bacteria, but unfortunately there is not a simple test available for their detection under field conditions, the same is true of protozoa.
Given the large numbers of potential pathogens and contaminants I would recommend that chlorination be routinely practiced and the water tested regularly for a residual chlorine level. Trying to test exhaustively is most likely futile, and should probably be based on the available epidemiology from the area.
Hi Benoit, hi everyone
My name is Iain and I work for Palintest. I think I can clear up some points on this Benoit's initial question.
- Palintest manufacture and supply the Wagtech range of water testing kits
- It's not accurate to say that we only supply to UNICEF/WHO. Whilst these organisations are major procurers and users of our kits, we supply to the entire NGO community and have done so for many years.
- We have extensive experience of delivering kits in Pakistan for water and soil analysis.
If you'd like to discuss the kits in more detail, whether it is specification or procurement then you can contact me at email@example.com
As well as the Palintest/Wagtech kits, Delagua kits (http://www.delagua.org/delagua_kits) should be able to cover most of the common field measurable parameters. I think all of their Bacteriological Kit's No 1, 2 & 3 all include conductivity meters so you can check the groundwater salinity. You would also be wise to add an Arsenic test kit as the other Martin suggests.
As James says if there is a risk of chemical contamination you can't beat lab analysis. Either full suite, or as directed by a water quality expert in the field. I'd suggest that you first test for conductivity (very quick and easy, no reagents needed once you have a meter). If your water is saline there is little point in proceeding with further tests on it if you are able to find a suitable non-saline alternative source. After salinity, I'd check for turbidity, pH & arsenic (and any other parameters that you have field tests for and know may be problematic) then if all looks good move on to the bacti checks. You can then send samples from your best source for lab analysis.
As Martin rightly points out, we have kits to carry out tests on almost any parameter, which are simply variants of the original delagua kit, soem include two incubators to carry out incubation at different temperatures.
Do drop us a line if you want help with a specification - firstname.lastname@example.org Also we have reliable suppliers in Pakistan to make life easier if you would prefer to go down that route.
CAWST just published our updated Drinking Water Quality Testing/Analysis Manual which has a lot of practically how-to, ... see appendix 2: Products and appendix 9 Country fact sheets. It mainly refers to Delagua and Wagtech but looks at other P/A methods.
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