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Byline: Abdul Qayyum Khan Sulehria, Yasser Saleem Mustafa, NailaSiddique and Sehrish Afzal


The present study was conducted to check the quality of drinking water in Sabzazar Town, District (Lahore). Samples were collected in sterilized falcon tubes and Multiple Tube Fermentation Test was used to analyze them. Coliforms were absent in water samples of the tube-well and supply-line, however, they were detected in samples from consumer taps. The coliforms were identified as E.coli by using different morphological and biochemical tests. For the confirmation of E.coli selective medium EMB was also used. Presence of E.coli is an indication of unhealthy /contaminated water supply to the locality which needs immediate attention of the concerned authorities to overcome this problem.

Key Words: Drinking water, Quality, Consumer, Coliform,


Water is of great importance for every living creature and for ecological system, human health, food production and economic development [13]. Water is the most precious natural resource on our planet. It is seen that chemical and physical pollution of water is not less important but the deadly pollutants present in drinking water are of biological origin [10]. Diarrhea illness remains a major killer in children and it is estimated that 80% of all illness in developing countries is related to water and sanitation; and that 15% of all child deaths under the age of 5 years in developing countries result from diarrhea diseases [19,20,18].

A large number of bacteria live in water because nutrients are widely distributed in the water [14]. Water is one of the vital source of gastrointestinal diseases. That is why water used for drinking purpose should be free from micro-organisms and chemical substances. Water becomes contaminated when it contains poisonous chemical substances, industrial or sewage waste and parasitic agents [2]. Coliforms are facultative anaerobic, non-spore-forming Gram negative bacilli that produce gas and acid by fermentation of lactose. The most important species of this group are Eschesichia coli and Enterobacteraerogenes. Coliform bacteria, especially, E. coli are permanently present in human intestine in huge number. The presence of coliform bacteria in water is indication of fecal contamination of human and animal origin [12]. In rainy seasons, coliform bacteria are thrown away into streams, rivers, lakes, ground water and creeks.

Drinking water from these untreated sources contains coliform particularly E. coli. In Pakistan open sewage drains and water supply lines run parallel resulting in continuous contamination of drinking water [11]. E.coli is an opportunistic pathogen in newborn and immune-deficient patients [3]. Various diseases are caused by E. coli such as urinary tract infection, wound infection, gastrointestinal infection and Bacteremia [15]. Epidemics of E. coli have been recorded from many countries due to contamination of drinking water and food [9,11].

The objective of this research work was to evaluate the drinking water quality in Sabzazar Lahore both at the source and in distribution system and to suggest preventive measures.


Three sites of Sabzazar Town (Lahore) were selected for collection of water samples i.e., Tube well, Supply line and Consumer taps(household). Total ninety samples were collected, thirty from each site.Samples were collected in sterilized falcon tubes.pH was also determined during sampling, and samples were brought immediately to the laboratory.

To check the coliform bacteria in water samples, Multiple Tube Fermentation Test (MTFT), was performed which consists of following three steps:Presumptive coliform test, Confirmed coliform test and Completed coliform test.

Presumptive Coliform Test: 9 ml of MacConkey broth was added in each test tube. A Durham tubewas placed in inverted position in each tube.Test tubes were plugged with cotton swabs having aluminum foil and sterilized at 121degC and 15lb pressure for 15-20 minutes in autoclave. After sterilization, test tubes were placed in laminar air flow chamber and allowed to cool down for few minutes. Then 1 ml of water sample was added with the help of sterilized pipette in each test tube. After that, test tubes were placed in incubator at 37degC for 24 hours.

Confirmed Coliform Test: Eosine methylene blue agar (EMB agar) mediumwas used to performthis test.After sterilization, the flask containing EMB agar medium was placed in laminar air flow cabinet and poured the medium into sterilized petriplates.The medium was allowed to solidify. After solidification, 10 ul of culture was taken from the test tube showing gas bubble and spread it on Petri plates with the help of spreader. Then Petriplateswere incubated at 37degC for 12 hours. After incubation picked a loopful of culture from spreading plates and streaked it on the petriplates containing EMB agar medium. After streaking, the Petri plates were placed again in incubator at 37degC for 24 hours.

Completed Coliform Test: Completed coliform test was performed for the final analysis of water samples. Took a loopful of culture from the EMB agar streaking petriplates and inoculated it into 9 ml of sterilized MacConkey broth in test tubes containing inverted Durham tubes. Then incubated the test tubes at 37degC for 24 hours.

Microscopical and biochemical tests: Microscopicaltests i.e., Gram's staining [7,5] and Endospore staining [2] were performed. Biochemical tests e.g. Indole test, Methyl Red-Voges- Proskaeur test (MR-VP) and Citrate test were also performed for further confirmation of E. coli.


Water samples collected from three sites of Sabzazar, District Lahore were examined for coliform detection. pH of water samples ranged between 7 to 7.5. No coliform were found in water samples taken from tube well and supply line, because,in presumptive test, no acid and gas production or color change occurred and no metallic sheen colonies were seen in confirmed test. In completed test also no acid and gas production was observed which means water samples from these two sources were free from contamination so water of these sources is suitable for drinking. However, water samples taken from consumer's taps were found to be contaminated with fecal coliforms. Since there was acid and gas production and change in colour from blue to yellow. Metallic sheen was also noticed on petriplates which confirmed the presence of ColiformIn confirmed test presence of metallic sheen indicated the presence of E.coli. It means water is not fit for drinking purpose (Figs. 1 to 4).

Gram staining and endospore staining were performed which indicated that they were negative, non-spore forming rods. Different biochemical tests were performed for the confirmation of E.coli. All strains showed positive results for indole and methyle red tests (Fig., 5-6) and negative results for citrate and vogesproskauer tests, which confirmed the presence of E.coli.


The government of many countries has always been trying to determine the quality of water for purposes of domestic consumption, drinking, some medical situation and personal hygiene. World Health Organization (WHO) provided criteria to improve and check the quality of drinking water in Pakistan against these standards [17].

In present study, to determine the quality of drinking water in Sabzazar Lahore Multiple Tube Fermentation Test (MTFT) was used. MTFT is a standard method which has been used for about 80 years to check the quality of drinking water [16]. In Sabzazar town water quality was determined at three sources i.e. tube well, supply line and consumers taps. From the first source (tube well) no coliform bacteria were found that is why it is potable water. No coliform bacteria were detected in second source (supply line). But in third source coliform (E.coli) were present, it means water is non-potable; it indicates the mixing of sewage water at consumer level. Now-a-days, bacteriological contamination of drinking water is a big issue.

At consumer level the drinking water is becoming more polluted due to unhygienic handling and open storage tanks. In the rural areas of Rawalpindi 73-90% water samples were found contaminated with coliform and non-coliform bacteria [6]. Our results relates with the study conducted by [8] in which water samples collected from source and supply line were free from coliform.

According to estimation about 1.5 billion people lack clean drinking water and 5 million deaths per year can be occurred due to water borne diseases [1]. For the supply of safe drinking water for human use regular chlorination should be done and homes filter should be used. Suitable monitoring system should be adopted to decline the contamination of water. In Sabzazar water quality status is low and therefore water borne diseases are common in children. It has been determined that water quality changes during distribution system from source to consumers. In future, plans must be prepared to supply safe drinking water to the residents.


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Department of Zoology, G.C. University, Lahore., Provincial Diagnostic Laboratory, 16-Cooper Road, Lahore-Pakistan.
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Article Details
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Author:Sulehria, Abdul Qayyum Khan; Mustafa, Yasser Saleem; Afzal, Sehrish; Siddique, Naila
Publication:Science International
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 31, 2012

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