Water resources, especially safe, potable water, are limited for many Haitians. In areas where shallow groundwater is available, many household water needs such as laundry, bathing, and cooking are supplied by hand–dug wells. In order to better understand the water quality and prevalence of these household wells, 35 hand–dug wells were surveyed and sampled near the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, Haiti. Water samples were collected and tested for fecal coliform and Escherichia coli
using the IDEXX Colilert–18 method. Of the samples collected, 89 percent were determined unsafe to use as a drinking water source based on the World Health Organization standard of 1.0 colony–forming unit (cfu) E. coli
per 100 mL. Sixty–six percent of the wells exceeded recreational/body contact standards for the state of Michigan (130 cfu/100 mL). Some of these wells were deemed suitable for conversion to a new well type called in situ filtration (ISF) wells. In situ filtration wells are installed with an internal sand filter pack, PVC casing, pump, and cap which seals the well from surface contamination and provides additional water treatment as water is pumped. Previous ISF installations have reduced E. coli
to safe drinking water levels within 90 days.
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