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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738


SIGUDU, MV; DU PREEZ, HH  and  RETIEF, F. Application of a basic monitoring strategy for Cryptosporidium and Giardia in drinking water. Water SA [online]. 2014, vol.40, n.2, pp.297-312. ISSN 1816-7950.

Despite the health risks associated with exposure to Cryptosporidium and Giardia, there is no uniform approach to monitoring these protozoan parasites across the world. In the present study, a strategy for monitoring Cryptosporidium and Giardia in drinking water was developed in an effort to ensure that the risk of exposure to these organisms and the risks of non-compliance to guidelines are reduced. The methodology developed will be applicable to all water supply systems irrespective of size and complexity of the purification works. It is based on monitoring procedures proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the risk-based procedure followed by Northern Ireland. The monitoring strategy developed represents a preventative approach for proactively monitoring Cryptosporidium and Giardia species in drinking water. The strategy consists of 10 steps: (i) assessment of the monitoring requirements, (ii) description and characterisation of the source water types, (iii) abstraction of source water, (iv) assessment of the water purification plant, (v) water quality monitoring, (vi) cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis outbreak, (vii) risk assessment, (viii) sample collection and laboratory processing, (ix) data evaluation, interpretation and storage, (x) process evaluation and review. Proper implementation of this protocol can contribute to the protection of drinking water consumers by identifying high-risk source water, identifying areas of improvement within the water treatment system, and also preventing further faecal pollution in the catchments. The protocol can also be integrated into the Water Safety Plans to optimise compliance. Furthermore, this methodology has a potential to contribute to Blue Drop certification as it should form part of the incident management protocols which are a requirement of Water Safety Plan implementation.

Keywords : Cryptosporidium; monitoring; risk score; drinking water.

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