The quality of drinking water at the point of delivery to the consumer is crucial in safeguarding consumer’s health. The current study was undertaken to assess the changes in residual chlorine content with distance in water distribution system in Gwalior city of Madhya Pradesh and assess its relation with the occurrence of total and faecal coliforms. Water samples were collected from the exit point of the treatment plant and taps at consumer households at an interval of 1 to 2 km. A total of 56 water samples were tested to determine residual chlorine content and presence of total and fecal coliforms using standard methods. Average concentrations of residual chlorine from all sampling location were between 0.08 to 0.98 mg/L. Total coliform was found at most of the sampling locations in the range of 0.82 to 7.15 MPN/100 ml. The fecal coliform at all sampling locations was found in the range of 0 to 4.10 MPN/100 ml. With time, the residual chlorine in the transported water dechlorinates. After covering some distance, the residual chlorine of the water was completely diminished thereby supporting massive microbial growth. The study proposed the likely causes of the transit dechlorination of water and recommended carrying out compulsory chlorination at water sources while maintaining reasonable residuals at the consumers’ end to eliminate the bacteriological contamination.
Key words: Residual chlorine, total and fecal coliforms, drinking water chlorination, water contamination.
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