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Suitability of the H2S paper strip method for testing rainwater

Pillai, J., Gibbs, R., Mathew, K. and Ho, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812 (1999) Suitability of the H2S paper strip method for testing rainwater. In: Proceedings of the International Regional Conference on Environmental Technologies for Wastewater Management, December 1997, Perth, Western Australia pp. 251-256.

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Rainwater is the source of drinking water for many people in Australia and in other pans of the world. The water that is collected in the tanks may contain a variety of bacteria of bird and reptile faecal origin. The rainwater tanks are seldom treated and these bacteria can be of human health concern. The quality of rainwater is rarely tested due to multiple reasons. The availability of a cheap testing procedure. which could be conducted by the householders, would be advantageous, The H2S paper strip method is an on - site bacterial resting method which detects the hydrogen sulphide producing bacteria in the water sample. A good correlation has been reported between the presence of hydrogen sulphide producing bacteria and the faecal indicators. In order to assess the suitability of the H2 S method for testing rainwater, 113 samples were analysed for total coli forms, Escherichia coli and Salmonella sp by the standard procedures and the results compared with the H2S method. Coliforms were observed in 59 samples and 32 samples contained E.coli. The H2S method gave more true results when the bottles were incubated at 24 hours than at 48 hours. Many false positive and false negative results were observed. The false positive results could be due to the presence of other Enterobacteriacea such as the E.cloacae, Proteus, Citrobacter and Salmonella arizona as well as the H2S producing bacteria of plant origin which were isolated from some of the positive bottles. The presence of false negative results is a concern in using this method as an authentic test for testing drinking water but it could be used as a screening test for isolated drinking water sources.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
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