Water is a precious natural resource used for domestic, industrial and agricultural purposes. Boreholes or wells are dug in homes and industries in order to have access to potable water in developing nations. Microorganisms and physico-chemical compounds contribute to pollution of water causing diseases and generating toxic metabolites. Human population is at risk of pathogenic organisms found in drinking water supplies unless treated and monitored. The focus of this study is to determine the physico-chemical and microbial quality of underground water in Owo metropolis, Nigeria using standard methods. Compared parameters include: Physicochemical constituents, pH, total dissolved solids (TDS), total hardness (TH), magnesium hardness, calcium hardness, manganese test, arsenic test, iron test, zinc test, lead test, chloride test, and turbidity test. Microbiological parameters included total coliform counts (TC), Percentage coliform frequency, sugar fermentation tests, biochemical identification tests, cultural and morphological characterization. The predominant isolates recovered from the samples were identified to be Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia and Proteus mirabillis. The coliforms isolated indicate contamination of the underground water with fecal materials. The study revealed that the underground water is physico-chemically very safe irrespective of the location but microbiologically unsafe for public consumption unless treated with boiling or simple chlorination to eliminate coliform organisms found in Sample A and B.
Keywords: Water, Escherichia coli, coliforms, physico-chemical tests, Nigeria.