Microbial and physicochemical quality of water in selected swimming pools in Kampala Metropolitan City
Ekopai, Joyce Margaret
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Despite swimming pools being a health risk facility, no elaborate studies had been done to determine water quality of swimming pools in Kampala metropolitan city Uganda. A cross-sectional study was done to determine the microbial and physicochemical quality of swimming pool water as well factors that affect these pool qualities at Kampala Metropolitan City, Uganda. Thirty-nine swimming pools and eighteen water sources were sampled and analyzed. Surface spread method was used to determine Total Plate Count (TPC) load as well as the fungus presence (Candida albicans). Total Coliform Count (TCC) and detection of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was done using membrane filtration technique. The residual chlorine, pH and temperature of pool water were measured in situ. Swimming pool waters were found to be unhygienic with 82.3%, 72.9%, 11.5%, 6.25% and 12.5% non- conforming to WHO acceptable limits of TPC, TCC E. coli, S. aureus and P. aeruginosa respectively. The mean microbial contamination load was found to be 124,428.8±17,023 CFU/ml; 97.7±18.9 CFU/100ml; 1.5±1/14 CFU/100ml; 22±5.6 CFU/100ml and 43.7±3.9 CFU/ml for TPC, TCC E. coli, S. aureus and P. aeruginosa respectively. None of pool waters was contaminated with Candida albicans. Most 84.6% (n=33) of pools did not conform to the WHO acceptable limits of residual chlorine of 1-3 ppm. They had a mean pool residual chlorine of 0.52±0.17 ppm. All pools had the acceptable pH (7.2-7.8) and temperature (20-36oC) levels. Factors that were associated with the microbial contamination of swimming pools were none frequent changing of pool waters, high density of bathers, none effective pool water circulatory systems, none existence of swimmers complain health reporting system, poor enforcement of rules and regulations guiding hygienic use of swimming pools and unclean physical environment of swimming pools. It was recommended that Kampala Capital City Authority and appropriate health regulatory authorities should enforce and carry out regular water quality checkups and health risk assessments of swimming pools. Pool management should enforce recommended international swimming pool hygienic practices.