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Bull World Health Organ. 1982;60(5):797-801.

A simple field test for the detection of faecal pollution in drinking water.


A comprehensive field investigation in several parts of India has revealed that the presence of coliforms in drinking water is associated with hydrogen sulfide-producing organisms. This paper describes a simple, rapid, and inexpensive field test for the screening of drinking water for faecal pollution, based on the detection of hydrogen sulfide. The new test showed good agreement with the standard most probable number (MPN) test. It proved highly successful in the field when it was used to detect faecal pollution and to monitor water quality during an outbreak of water-borne hepatitis A infection in the city of Gwalior. The test is reliable and simple to perform, and will be especially useful for screening rural water supplies and for large-scale screening of urban water supplies where resources, time, manpower, and laboratory facilities are limited.

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