Ever since more residents and resorts arrived at Pantai Hill, water has become a scarce resource during the dry months. This year, weather has been rather wet and yet this ‘water shortage’ problem has reared its ugly head. We were quite surprised and have concluded the obvious, that more water is being used on the hill and the incoming source cannot cope with demand during these periods. This has become Pantai Hill’s annual water wars talked about in the previous article.
Adding more drama into the mix, Pantai Hill pioneer resort The Dusun – has tested the water from two sources – one from the jungle source and another from the water tank (Pantai Hill reservoir) and both have coliform bacteria levels that are unsafe to drink – according to the labs. Below is how The Dusun describes it:
For some time, David and I felt our water tasted “different”; not as good as before. So we had it tested – as it came out of the tap in Cee’s house on Lot 59. Water to Lot 59 comes from the Pantai Hill’s reservoir. The report from the BACFREE lab in Subang came back with a Coliform Count (Bacteria) of 20. The required coliform count for drinking water is zero; none whatever is allowed.
We have always filtered our drinking water – we have an RO system, which filters water from the pipe into water jars for drinking. This water comes from the Dusun water inlet in the jungle stream, not from the reservoir. So we sent water samples from before going into the filter and after it came out to Pathlab in Seremban. The results of both samples were the same. “Heavy growth of gram negative bacilli.” So both sources of water – from the reservoir and from the jungle stream – are contaminated.
20 parts per 100 milliliters is quite low. The standard for showers and swimming pools is less than 200. But for drinking water it should be zero.
Gram negative bacilli, coliform bacteria and e-coli bacteria mean much the same thing. The coliform count indicates the amount of fecal matter in the water. This can come from animal or human shit and even from plants and soil. The layer of mud in the reservoir could be one cause. Or animals and birds defecating in the stream which feeds it.
Scientists measure e-coli as an “indicator” for other more serious pathogens, also found in faeces, which are harder to test. According to the Business Dictionary (Google), “coliform bacteria are a group of gram negative bacteria (of which the most common is e-coli) found in the intestinal tract (and therefore in faeces) of humans and other animals. These rod-shaped microorganisms aid in digestion and are largely harmless. However, if ingested through contaminated food or water, they may cause bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, hepatitis A, typhoid fever or other complications.
The usual filter systems do not remove bacteria. The only solution is ultra violet or ozone treatment of the water. These devices, which kill all bacteria, can be bought in Seremban.