This study assessed the bacteriological quality of groundwater, rainwater and surface water sourced from an agrarian settlement in South-eastern Nigeria. Agamede, Amede, Ihenyi, Mgbuji and Umuhu communities in Eha-Amufu served as sampling locations. Samples were sourced from River Ebenyi, hand-dug wells and rooftop harvested rainwater. Bacterial isolation, identification and enumeration followed standard methods. Coliform counts were above WHO permissible standard except groundwater sourced at Mgbuji. Whereas a significant difference occurred in the means of coliform counts of lactose-fermenters (LF) of groundwater and rainwater, no significant difference occurred among non-lactose fermenters (NLF) across all locations. There was no significant difference between the mean coliform colony count of LF and NLF across surface water in different locations. Bayesian Paired Samples T-Test and Post-Hoc showed no significant difference in the total colony count of LF and NLF coliforms and means of total colony count between and within water sources across stations. However, the mean total coliform count in rainwater was the highest. Our results demonstrate that water sources from the agrarian settlements were contaminated by coliforms whilst settlers and others that consume them via drinking and domestic purposes are vulnerable, especially the aged, children and immunocompromised.
Key words: Water quality, bacteriology, agrarian settlement, coliform.
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