21 October 2016
Use of groundwater from private wells in households has increased considerably, owing to a better cost/benefit ratio than that of water provided by local utilities for a fee. However, this water is usually untreated, which makes it a vehicle for diseases. Thus, monitoring this water is necessary to ensure its integrity and quality. We aimed to evaluate the physical, chemical, and microbiological parameters of untreated groundwater drawn from different types of wells, and the antimicrobial susceptibility profile of the bacteria isolated from this water. Wellwater samples were collected in two Brazilian cities. Although physical and chemical parameters of the water were suitable for drinking, Escherichia coli was detected in 33% of the samples. E. coli contaminated 65% of dug wells and 10.25% of drilled wells. Many bacteria isolated were resistant to multiple antibacterial agents, including β-lactams. Microbial contamination of this water was related to the well depth, and was more common in dug wells, making this water unfit for human consumption. Consumption of such contaminated and untreated water is a public health concern. Thus, individuals who regularly use such water must be alerted so they may either take preventive measures or connect to the water distribution system operated by local utilities.