Drinking Water Field Analyses for the Detection and Enumeration of Coliform Bacteria in Rural Guatemalan Highlands


An analysis of drinking water contaminant concentrations in the highlands of rural Guatemala evaluated the Coliscan EasyGel as a field method for the detection and enumeration of coliform bacteria in drinking water and found it adequate. In developing countries like Guatemala, many deaths among infants and young children may be due to dehydration, malnutrition, or other complications of waterborne bacterial infections. Students and engineers are challenged to find sustainable means to provide safe drinking water. A field applicable method of quantifying microbiological contamination is needed to improve the evaluation of engineering solutions. A pour plate method using the patented Coliscan EasyGel medium is commercially available and marketed for field use by Micrology Labs Incorporated. However, the validity of the field data is called into question when the results are compared qualitatively and quantitatively to duplicate Membrane Filtration (MF) analysis using M-Endo medium, an ASTM accredited method. To evaluate comparability, this work splits subsets of the samples for duplicate MF analysis and non-parametric statistical evaluation due to the non-normal nature of data distribution.

Meeting Name

World Environmental and Water Resources Congress (2009: May 17-21, Kansas City, MO)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Bacterial infections; Data distribution; Drinking water; Engineering solutions; Field analysis; Field data; Field methods; Guatemala; Membrane filtrations; Micrology; Non-parametric; Safe drinking water; Statistical evaluation; Young children; Bacteriology; Coliform bacteria; Developing countries; Function evaluation; Microfiltration; Normal distribution; Potable water; Water analysis; Water pollution; Water resources

Geographic Coverage


International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2009 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2009