The Quality of Sachet Water vended in the Kumasi Metropolis

Bachelor Thesis, 2016

67 Pages, Grade: A






Table of content

1 Introduction
1.1 Problem Statement
1.2 Justification
1.3 General Objectives
1.4 Specific Objectives

2 Literature Review
2.1 The Global need for clean water
2.2 The importance of quality water
2.3 Sachet water in Ghana
2.4 Typically packaged water production process
2.5 Packaged water contamination
2.6 Physico-chemical parameters
2.6.1 PH
2.6.2 Conductivity
2.6.3 Total dissolved solids
2.6.4 Total hardness
2.6.5 Alkalinity
2.6.6. Phosphate
2.6.7 Sulphate
2.6.8 Nitrate
2.6.9 Chlorides
2.6.10 Flourides
2.6.11 Potassium ion
2.6.12 Sodium ion
2.6.13 Calcium ion
2.6.14 Magnesium ion
2.6.15 Bacteriological indicators of Drinking water quality.

3 Materials and Methodology
3.1 Sampling
3.2 Physical parameters
3.2.1 pH
3.2.2 Conductivity
3.2.3 Total dissolved solids
3.2.4 Sodium
3.2.5 Phosphate
3.2.6 Nitrate
3.2.7 Sulphate
3.2.8 Flouride
3.2.9 Chloride
3.2.10 Potassium
3.2.11 Magnesium
3.2.12 Calcium
3.2.13 Total hardness
3.2.14 Total Alkalinity
3.2.15 Total and Faecal coliform
3.2.16 E-Coli

4 Results and Discussion
4.1.1 PH
41.2 Conductivity
4.1.3 TDS
4.1.4 Total hardness
4.1.5 Alkalinity
4.16 Ionic Balance
4.1.7 Calcium ions
4.1.8 Sodium ions
4.1.9 Potassium ions
4.1.10 Magnesium ion
4.1.11 Flourides
4.1.12 Chloride ion
4.1.13 Nitrate ion
4.1.14 Phosphate ion
4.1.15 Sulphate ion
4.2 Bacteriological properties
4.2.1 Bacteriological discussion of samples

5.0 Conclusion and Recommendation
5.1 Conclusion
5.2 Recommendation



I solemnly and humbly dedicate this this work to the almighty God for His protection, guidance and gift of life through this work, and also to my mother Dorothy Amoah for supporting me throughout my education.


First of all, I will like to thank the Almighty God for making this work possible.

A special word of thanks goes to my invaluable supervisor, Dr. N.O. Boadi of Department of Chemistry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, for his vital comments, suggestion and support. To you I say God Bless you.

My profound gratitude goes to my course mates, Benedicta Quainoo and Bismark Elorm for their co-operation and free offer of relevant and useful information, and also to Isaac Tuffour for his encouraging words.

Special thanks also go to my parents for their immense contribution and encouragement throughout the work, and to all who helped me in diverse ways to produce this work, I say, thank you.


The use of sachet water has become an important primary source of drinking water, but little is known about bacteriological quality and improvements to quality control. The report examines bacteriological indicators for 10 sachet water samples from some communities in Kumasi, Ghana. It was conducted in some areas in the Kumasi metropolis, Ghana to examine the suitability of packaged water for consumption by evaluating their bacteriological, physical and chemical characteristics. These were total coliform, faecal coliform, pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids, nitrate, sulphate, chloride, phosphate, total alkalinity, flourides, sodium total hardness, calcium and magnesium hardness and their ions. Standard methods were used for the sample analysis. The results showed that the physical parameters analyzed were below the WHO limit. Also, total coliform and faecal coliform were positive for almost all of the sampled sachet water with an exception of VA sample that tested NILL for it bacterialogical contamination.


Table 4.1 Physico-chemical parameters of the sachet waters

Table 4.2 Concentrations of Cations in the sachet waters

Table 4.3 Concentration of Anions in the sachet waters

Table 4.4 Bacteriological properties studied

Table 4.5 Correlation Coefficient (r) among various parameters


Figure 2.1 Factory-produced sachet with sealing machine in the background

Figure 2.2 Hand-tied sachet water manually filled


1.0 Introduction

The most abundant substance in human is water, making up to 60% of an adult's weight and up to 80% of an infant's weight.

The essential resource for life quality and subsistence cannot be stated with water being ignored. In many developing countries like Ghana; accessibility of water has become a critical and urgent problem and has generated an expression of concern to families and communities depending on non-public water supply system (Okonko et al., 2008). The quality of a good drinking water exhibit attributes such as colourless, odourless, tasteless, and free from faecal pollution.

Gadgil in 1998 estimated that, almost about one billion people in the world have no access to safe sources of drinking water. This phenomenon is leading to the demise of about four hundred (400) children below the age five years on an hourly basis. This is largely due to the bacteriological contamination of potable water sources.

Sachet or packaged water is any water that is sealed in plastics and is supplied or delivered for sale and is planned for human consumption (Felicitas et al. 2010).

The supply of pipe water is inadequate and hence, this inadequacy is both in quantity and quality of the public water supply. A process of 10.3 million people estimation (approx.. 51% of the population) are documented and described to have access to bettered and enhanced water supplies, and as results, has led to enormously increased in the production of sachet water with about 300 registered producers and about 600 unregistered producers in this country.

The production of sachet water in Ghana is under questionable hygienic environmental conditions without approved and does not meet standards according to food and drugs Board of Ghana(Ackah et al. 2012)

Heedless of all these problems associated with sachet water, the sachet water is better regarded as wholesome for drinking purposes as when compared to tap or well water (Addo et al, 2009). Globally however, 1.1 billion people, mostly in developing countries, do not have access to safe water (WHO/UNICEF, 2000). Water rareness and uncommonness becomes a serious concern to most sub-Saharan African countries (Osei-Asare, 2004). (Rosen & Vincent 1999) also indicated that 67% of the rural population has no access to safe water supply.

Water resources in Ghana contribute and also play a central role in the improvement of living standards, betterment of economic growth, provision of food security and livelihood, and ultimately, alleviation of poverty. Ghana among most countries in the world is also experiencing population growth and associated demand on food production. Hence, the demand of water increases fluently which produces stress on available water resources.

World Health Organization (WHO., 1998) has also estimated that, there were estimated 4 billion cases of diarrhoea and 2.2 million cases of death annually and the consumption of unsafe drinking water has been implicated as the major cause of this incidence. A great concern to consumers and all water suppliers, regulators and public health authorities is the microbiological quality of drinking water. The ability of drinking water to transmit microbial pathogens to numerous numbers of people causing a lot of illness is well documented in many countries at all levels of economic development which includes Ghana (Dufuor et al., 2003).

The natural water analyses for the physic-chemical properties including trace element contents are very essential for the studies of public health (Kot et al., 2000). These studies also constitute a major part of pollution in the environment.

When there is a direct disposal of waste into streams or lakes or from runoff from wooded areas, pastures, feedlots, septic tanks, and sewage plants into streams, there is a result of coliforms being capable of entering the water supplies being distributed to humans(KYEREMATENG 2014). Availability of Escherichia coli in drinking water signifies that the water has been contaminated faecally and therefore results in a causative health risk to households that use them untreated (WHO, 1993).

For most developing countries like Ghana, Availability of water has become a critical and urgent problem and has become a great problem to families depending on non-public water supply system (Okonko et al., 2008).

1.1 Problem Statement

The quality of water is determined by its physical, chemical and biological characteristics (Diesing, 2009). Contaminants that may be in untreated water include microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria; inorganic contaminants such as salts and metals; pesticides and herbicides; inorganic chemical contaminants from industrial processes and radioactive contaminants (U.S. EPA, 2006). According to WHO (2004), about five million children are annually killed by diseases contracted through drinking water and make one sixteenth of the world population sick.

The quality and safety of drinking water continues to be an important public health issue because its pollution has often been cited as being responsible for the transmission of some infectious diseases that have caused serious illness and associated deaths world- wide (Tibbetts, 1996).

Some common water-related diseases include diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, lead poisoning and fluorosis (WHO, 2000). Amongst the poor and especially in developing countries, diarrhoea is a major killer. In 1998, diarrhoea was estimated to have killed 2.2 million people, most of whom were under 5 years of age (WHO, 2000).

Water is indispensable to human existence and that is why conscious efforts should be made to regularly assess the microbiological and physico-chemical quality of drinking water.

The lack of clean drinking water and sanitation systems is a severe public health concern in Ghana, contributing to seventy percent of diseases in the country. Consequently, households without access to clean water are forced to use less reliable and hygienic sources and often pay more (African Economic Outlook, 2007).

Drinking water must meet specific criteria and standards to ensure that water supplied to the public is safe and free from pathogenic microorganisms as well as hazardous compounds. Different countries and international organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO), US EPA, Ghana Standards Authority and EPA - Ghana have therefore proposed water quality standards and guidelines to ensure safe drinking water.

1.2 Justification

Even though there is a clear benefit of improved sources of potable water for human development, many developing countries in the world including Ghana seem to find insufficient resources to meet the millennium development goal (MDG) target for sanitation and potable water.

There are unequal ways to get access to clean water and sanitation and a result of insufficient water for households by the Ghana Water Company, many people in Ghana depends on sachet water as their main source of drinking water and for other purposes.

The study area is an area where people mainly depend on sachet water. It is therefore very important to analyze the quality of sachet water to ascertain whether they are safe for drinking.

1.3 General Objectives

The general objective for this project is to determine the quality of sachet water in some areas in the Kumasi metropolis

1.4 Specific Objectives

1. To determine Total and Feacal coliforms of sachet water in the study area.
1. To determine the physico-chemical parameters; pH, turbidity, colour,chloride, fluoride, total dissolved solids, total hardness of sachet water.
2. To determine the levels of nutrients such as Nitrates, Sulphates and Phosphate of sachet water in the study area.



2.1 The global need for clean water

The definition for water that is very common is that it is completely without pathogenic organisms, turbidity, odour, taste, toxic substance, colour and has an agreeable level of minerals and organic materials that are accepted (Betefe 2015). Despite the fact that human beings on this earth have the fundamental right to the supply of clean water, WHO still records that, there are over 1 billion people in this world who still do not get access to well improved water supply, this gives a data of 6% of the world's population lacking access to clean water in the urban areas, with 29% lacking access in the rural areas. This problem is not observed only in developing countries, but also serves as challenges in which municipalities in both remote areas and rural areas in developed countries observe. This result of inadequate water supply leads to a large and disastrous event of great significance which causes diarrhea disease to kill about 2.2 million people in a year, which relates to one person dyeing in every 15 seconds (UNICEF 2000).

The availability of water is one of the major sources that constitute illness especially in Africa and the world in general. The fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate (IPCC) states that twelve countries would be limited to 1,000 to 1,700 m3 per person in a year, and the number of people in the countries at risk could be 460 million, which is mainly in West Africa. This estimation was based on rate at which the population grow, and never considered the variation in water resources because of the human activities such as mining and climate change(Avotri 2012).

2.2 The importance of quality drinking water

Living things including man cannot live without depending on water, making water to be one of the indispensable resources for mankind. Providing adequate supply of drinking water was one of the eight components of primary health care identified by the International Conference on Primary Health care in 1978 (Omezuruike et al. 2008). Changes in physical characteristics such as transparency, temperature, suspended solids and other chemical characteristics of water such as dissolved oxygen, chemical oxygen demand, nitrate and phosphate provide valuable information on the quality of the water (Mustapha 2008).

Water plays an important role in the digestion of food in the body. With the help of water in the blood stream, water plays a major role in transporting required nutrients needed by the body for growth and repair of muscle tissue. To keep the entire process going, a profuse amount of water is needed daily (Unicef 2005). Increased morbidity, mortality as a result of reduced immune defense systems and impaired physical and mental development are the major Health consequences of micronutrient deficiencies. These nutritional deficiencies increases death rate in adults and rate of diseases and also decrease working capabilities (Unicef 2005). Inadequate water intake is the cause of dehydration (Betefe 2015).

2.3 Sachet water in Ghana

Getting access to drinking water is essential to health and development (Oludairo & Aiyedun. 2015), but because of inadequacy and governments inability to produce enough, numerous small scale water producing industries are marketing and packaging factory filled sachet drinking water (Thliza et al. 2015)

There are both small and large scale industries that pack and machine-seal sachet water in Ghana. These packed and machine-sealed sachet water is commonly known by many of the locals as “PURE WATER”. These machine seal sachet water that is produced in industries is also referred to as factory produced sachet water. Sachet water can also be sold in hand filled and hand tied plastics bags which are locally called “ICE WATER”. They are known as ice water because most of the venders add blocks of ice to the sachet water, which are contained in ice boxes to cool the water. And hence, majority of hand tied sachet water are called ice water, whether cooled or not (Murcott et al. 2007). Figure 2.1 below shows packaged and machine sealed sachet water being packed while figure 2.2 shows hand filled and hand tied sachet water being filled.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2.1 Factory-produced sachet with sealing machine in the background

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2.2 Hand-tied sachet water manually filled

2.4 Typically packaged water production process

The major procedures for the various water treatment processes are aeration, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, slow sand filtration, rapid filtration and disinfection. Small scale package water production factories usually employ boiling, sedimentation, coagulation and filtration. Water is brought to a good rolling boiling point for about 15-20 minutes to destroy microorganisms present and also drive out dissolved gases and give a flat taste.

Multiple candle pressure filter which employ active carbon filter beds are commonly used in packaged water production to remove contaminants like sand, rust, metal, sediments, algal films and bacteria while sealing is done using heating sealing machines.

The packaging of sachet water has the following process

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

2.5 Packaged water contamination

Majority of the world's population do not have access to safe drinking water, with about 6 million children dyeing daily as a result of water borne diseases linked to the scarcity of safe drinking water (WHO 2004).

There was analysis conducted by (Obiri-Danso et al. 2003) in the streets of Kumasi in the Ashanti region on the quality of bottled water and factory produced sachet water, 8 samples of bottled water and 88 samples of factory produced sachet water were taking for analysis. The analysis showed no coliforms in the bottled water (0 CFU/ 100ml), while 45% of the factory produced sachet water contained total coliforms (Counts ranged from 10 CFU/100ml to 13 CFU /100ml for positive results), with 2.3% of the factory produced sachet water containing feacal coliforms (2 samples both 10 CFU /100ml).

Coliforms are the principal indicators of suitability of water for domestic, industrial and other uses. Coliform group density is a criterion of the degree of pollution and sanitary quality. Coliforms are rod-shapes Gram negative organisms which ferment lactose with the production of acid and gas when incubated at 37 °C. Faecal coliforms are a smaller group in the total coliform family that inhibit the intestines of mammals and have a relatively short lifespan (Ngmekpele & Hawkins 2015).


2.6.1 pH

pH mainly signifies the potential of hydrogen which is the amount of hydrogen found in substances. pH is the measure of acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Even though as the pH pure water is 7, that of natural water and drinking water shows pH ranges because it contain dissolved gases and minerals. Dissolved gases such as hydrogen sulphides, carbon dioxides and ammonia affect the pH of water. Ground water has pH range 6 to 8.5 while that of surface water is 6.5 to 8.5. The overall pH range of natural water is generally between 6 and 8 Water of pH lower than 4 will produce a sour taste and water containing pH above 8.5 will produce a bitter taste. Higher pH values results in scale formation in water heating apparatus and reduces the germicidal potential of chlorine. pH below 6.5 starts corrosion in pipes, thereby releasing toxic metals such as Zn, Pb, Cd, Cu, etc. Water with low pH can be acidic, and corrosive. Acidic water can leach metals such as copper, zinc and lead from pipes and also damage metal pipes and cause aesthetic problems such as a metallic or sour taste, laundry staining or blue green stains in sinks and drains (D. G. WHO 1996).

Higher acidity which is indication of water having a lower pH value is caused by the deposition of acid forming substances in precipitation and exchange of carbon dioxide with the atmosphere and mineral acids.

Water with high pH causes bitter taste while water using appliances also becomes encrusted (Waller, 1982). For effective disinfection with chlorine, the pH should preferably be less than 8. Failure to minimize corrosion can result in the contamination of drinking water and have an adverse effect on its taste and appearance. WHO guidelines suggest that the optimum pH required in drinking water should be in the range 6.5 to 8.5(Gordon et al. 2008).

2.6.2 Conductivity

Conductivity is the measure of a materials ability to conduct an electric current. Water shows significant conductivity when dissolved salts are present, making pure waters being poor conductors of electricity. There are several factors that determine the degree to which water will carry an electrical current, these include, the concentration or number of ions, the mobility of the ion, oxidation state (valency) and temperature of the water, the presence of inorganic dissolved solids such as chloride, nitrate, sulphate and phosphate anions or sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and aluminium cations. oil, phenol, alcohol and sugar which are organic compounds do not conduct electrical current very well, and therefore have low conductivity in water(Wu et al. 1987).

Conductivity is useful as a general measure of water quality. Significant changes in conductivity of water could be an indication that a discharge or some other source of pollution has entered the water body. Compounds which dissociates easily in solution are good conductors whiles those which do not dissociate easily are poor conductors. Inorganic, bases, and salts are good conductors whiles organic compounds are poor conductors.

2.6.3 Total Dissolved Solids

Total dissolved solids are used to describe the small amount of organic matter and the inorganic salts present in the water. Magnesium, sodium, calcium, potassium cations, hydrogen carbonate, chloride, sulphate, and nitrate anions are the main chemical constituents. High level of TDS does not mean the water is hard, because water softness does not reduce TDS, instead water softness remove magnesium and calcium ions that cause the water hardness. These ions are equally being replaced by sodium or potassium ion living the overall TDS unchanged. The presence of dissolved solids in water may affect its taste (Bruvold and Ongerth, 1969).

TDS has effect which leads to reduction in water clarity, combine with toxic compounds and heavy metals, and lead to an increase in water temperature.

Since TDS represents the amount of ions in water, it can be used to estimate the quality of drinking water.

2.6.4 Total Hardness

The traditional measure of the capacity of water to react with soap and hard water requiring considerably more soap to produce lather is known as the hardness of water. Hardness of water is mainly caused by a variety of dissolved polyvalent metallic cations such as calcium and magnesium and not by a single substance causing the hardness. Although other cations such as Barium, Iron, Manganese, Strontium and Zinc may also contribute, but calcium and magnesium are the main cause of the hardness. The principal natural sources of hardness in water are dissolved polyvalent metallic ions from sedimentary rocks, seepage and run-offs from soils.

Hardness is most commonly expressed as mg/l of CaCO3. Water that contains less than 60mg of CaCO3 per liter is considered as being soft but concentrations of up to 100 mg of CaCO3 per liter are fairly common in natural sources of water. The hardness of water doesn't make it a health hazard, but in every cleaning task, water hardness interferes. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull, bathing with soap and hard water leaves a film of sticky soap curd on the skin and may prevent removal of soil and bacteria. It has been suggested that intake of very soft waters may have an adverse effect of mineral balance and cause cardiovascular diseases such as rectal and oesophageal cancer. In drinking water, hardness is in the range of 10-500mg CaCO3 per liter and it appears there is no convincing evidence to indicate that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans. Depending on the interaction of other factors such as pH and alkalinity, water with hardness above approximately 200mg/l may cause scale deposition in the treatment works, distribution system and pipe work and tanks (KYEREMATENG 2014).


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The Quality of Sachet Water vended in the Kumasi Metropolis
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
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ISBN (eBook)
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quality, sachet, water, kumasi, metropolis
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Stephen Amoah (Author), 2016, The Quality of Sachet Water vended in the Kumasi Metropolis, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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