Presentation Title

Evaluation of E. coli and Total Coliforms in Rivers near Informal Settlements in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Faculty Mentor

Matt Verbyla, Cesar Mota, Natalie Mladenov, Fabiana Passos

Start Date

23-11-2019 1:30 PM

End Date

23-11-2019 1:45 PM

Location

Markstein 213

Session

oral 3

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

interdisciplinary

Abstract

In the informal settlements, favelas, occupations, and urban communities throughout the world, water quality and sanitation have long been an issue. The process to gain government recognition and obtain access to a sewer connection often takes years for some of these communities. Few studies have been done in these informal settlements and specifically on the effects of the lack of sanitation infrastructure on water quality in local rivers. I visited five urban communities in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, observed their sanitation infrastructure and habits, and analyzed samples from local rivers for Escherichia coli and total coliforms using the 3M Petrifilm E. coli plates method. The most common method for onsite sanitation in these communities was a pour flush pit toilet or a pour flush toilet with direct blackwater runoff to nearby rivers. For this reason, concentrations from the three different rivers, measured upstream and downstream of the communities, were quite high, ranging from 103 to 106 CFU/100mL. By contrast, the EPA regulatory limit for infrequent use of freshwater is 575 CFU/100mL. The high concentrations are of concern, especially since some of these water bodies are used by downstream communities. Implications for this research is important for the public health of these communities.

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Nov 23rd, 1:30 PM Nov 23rd, 1:45 PM

Evaluation of E. coli and Total Coliforms in Rivers near Informal Settlements in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Markstein 213

In the informal settlements, favelas, occupations, and urban communities throughout the world, water quality and sanitation have long been an issue. The process to gain government recognition and obtain access to a sewer connection often takes years for some of these communities. Few studies have been done in these informal settlements and specifically on the effects of the lack of sanitation infrastructure on water quality in local rivers. I visited five urban communities in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, observed their sanitation infrastructure and habits, and analyzed samples from local rivers for Escherichia coli and total coliforms using the 3M Petrifilm E. coli plates method. The most common method for onsite sanitation in these communities was a pour flush pit toilet or a pour flush toilet with direct blackwater runoff to nearby rivers. For this reason, concentrations from the three different rivers, measured upstream and downstream of the communities, were quite high, ranging from 103 to 106 CFU/100mL. By contrast, the EPA regulatory limit for infrequent use of freshwater is 575 CFU/100mL. The high concentrations are of concern, especially since some of these water bodies are used by downstream communities. Implications for this research is important for the public health of these communities.