Assessment of the physical, chemical and microbiological quality of packaged water sold in Nnewi, South-East Nigeria: a population health risk assessment and preventive care study

Uzoamaka Ugochinyere Epundu, Nkiru Nwamaka Ezeama, Echendu Dolly Adinma, Benjamin Sunday Uzochukwu, Obed Chukwunonso Epundu, Brian O. Ogbonna


Background: Global statistics show that over 1.2 billion people do not have access to potable water and 70% of Nigerians lack access to potable water. Non-availability and/or lack of access to potable water predispose people to preventable life-threatening conditions. This study assessed the physical, chemical, and microbiological quality of sachet and bottled water to generate evidence for planning, policy, and intervention.

Methods: The study was a cross-sectional analytic study of the quality of packaged (sachet and bottled) drinking water obtained from consumer households. The potability status of the water samples was assessed by means of qualitative assessments and quantitative laboratory tests. The results were compared to guideline values stipulated by the Nigerian Industrial Standard for Potable Water, NIS 306:2008. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. A p-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant. The study period was from April 2016 to June 2016.

Results: Of the 35.0 bottled water samples, 18.0 (51.4%), 21.0 (60.0%) and 17.0 (48.6%) had their production dates, expiry dates and batch numbers. All 65.0 (100.0%) samples appeared colourless to the naked eye and visible particles were present in 3.0 (4.6%) of the total water samples. The lead content of 7.0 (23.3%) sachet and 1.0 (2.9%) bottled sample exceeded the guideline value for lead. The pH of 16.0 (53.3%) sachet samples and 27.0 (77.1%) bottled samples fell below the recommended limits for pH. Escherichia coli was found in 4.0 (13.3%) and 15.0 (42.9%) of sachet and bottled water samples.

Conclusions: The study suggested that sachet and bottled water sold in Nnewi have good physical qualities, but poor chemical and microbiological qualities. More of the microbiological contaminant (E. coli) was present in the bottled water than the sachet water.


Potable water, Quality, Public health, Packaged water, Disease prevention, Risk assessment, Nigeria

Full Text:



Ajayi AA, Sridhar MKC, Adekunle Lola V, Oluwande, PA. Quality of Packaged Waters Sold in Ibadan, Nigeria, African J Biomed Res. 2008;11(3):251-8.

Olaoye OA, Onilude AA. Assessment of microbiological quality of sachet-packaged drinking water in Western Nigeria and its public health significance. Public Health, 2009;123:729–34.

Onweluzo JC, Akuagbazie CA. Assessment Of The Quality Of Bottled And Sachet Water Sold In Nsukka Town. Agro-Science J Trop Agriculture, Food, Environment Extension. 2010;9(2):104 –10.

Dada AC. Sachet Water phenomenon in Nigeria: Assessment of the potential health impacts. Afr J Microbiol Res. 2009;3(1):15-21.

Cheabu, Ngmekpele BS, Ephraim, Hawkins J. Sachet Water Quality in Obuasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana. J Biol Agriculture Healthcare. 2014;4(5):37-42.

Standards Organization of Nigeria. Standard for potable water, NIS 306:2008, Abuja, Nigeria.

World Health Organization. Guidelines for drinking-water quality. Fourth edition, 2011. WHO, Geneva, Switzerland.

Dada CA. Towards a successful packaged water regulation in Nigeria. Scientific Research and Essay. 2009;4 (9):921-8.

Kirkwood BR, Sterne JAC. Essential medical statistics 2nd edition 2003, Massachusetts: USA, Blackwell Science.

Edema MO, Ayatese AO, Bankole MO. Pure water syndrome:Bacteriological quality of sachet packed drinking water sold in Nigeria. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development. 2011;11(1):4595-609.

Hunter PR, MacDonald AM, Carter RC. Water Supply and Health. PLoS Med. 2010;7(11):e1000361.

WHO. Chemicals of public health concern and their management in the African Region. Regional Assessment Report, July 2014. WHO Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

Muazu J, Muhammad-Biu A, Mohammed GT. Microbial quality of packaged sachet water marketed in Maiduguri metropolis, North-Eastern Nigeria. British Journal of Pharmacology and Toxiclolgy. 2012;3(1):33-8.

Saylor A, Prokopy LS, Amberg S. What’s wrong with the tap? Examining perceptions of tap water and bottled water at Purdue University. Environ manage. 2011;48(3):588-601.

Ajayi AA, Sridhar M, Adekunle L, Oluwande PA. Quality of packaged waters sold in Ibadan, Nigeria. Afr J Biomed Res. 2008;11(3):251-8.

Abd El-Salam MM, Al-Ghitany EM, Kassem MM. Quality of Bottled Water Brands in Egypt Part 11:Biological Water Examination. J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 2008;83(5-6):468-86.

Biadglegne F, Tessema B, Kibret M, Abera B, Huruy K, Anagaw B, Mulu A. Physicochemical and bacteriological quality of bottled drinking water in three sites of Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia. Ethiop Med J. 2009;47(4):277-84.

Danso-Boateng E, Frimpong IK. Quality analysis of plastic sachet and bottled water brands produced or sold in Kumasi, Ghana. International Journal of Development and Sustainability. 2013;2(4):2222-32.

Semerjian LA. Quality assessment of various bottled waters marketed in Lebanon. Environ Monit Assess. 2011;172(1-4):275-285.

Biadglegne F, Tessema B, Kibret M, Abera B, Huruy K, Anagaw B, Mulu A. Physicochemical and bacteriological quality of bottled drinking water in three sites of Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia. Ethiop Med J. 2009;47(4):277-84.

Omole OD, Ndambuki MJ, Balogun K. consumption of sachet water in Nigeria: quality, public health and economic perspectives. African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development. 2015;7(1):45-51.

Alfadul SM, Khan MA. Water quality of bottled water in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia:A comparative study with Riyadh municipal and Zamzam water. J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2011;46(13):1519-28.

Onweluzo JC, Akuagbazie CA. Assessment of the quality of bottled and sachet water sold in Nsukka town. Journal of Tropical Agriculture, Food, Environment and Extension. 2010;9(2):104-10.

Asibuojo OI, Nkono NA, Ogunsua AO, Oluwole AF, Ward NI, Akanle OA, Spyrou NM. Trace elements in drinking and groundwater samples in Southern Nigeria. The Science of the Total Environ. 1997;208:1-8.

Akujieze CN, Coker SJL, Oteze GE. Groundwater in Nigeria -a millennium experience- distribution, practice, problems and solutions. Hydrogeol J. 2003;11:259-74.

Onojah PK, Odin EM, Ochala AU. Physicochemical studies and bacteriological assay of sachet water samples marketed in Kogi State University Compound, Anyigba. Int J Analytical Bioanalytical Chem. 2013;3(4):146-50.

Stoler J, Tutu RA, Ahmed H, Frimpong LA, Bello M. Sachet water quality and brand reputation in two low-income urban communities in greater Accra, Ghana. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014;90(2):272-8.

Obiri-Danso K, Okore-Hanson A, Jones K. The microbiological quality of drinking water sold on the streets in Kumasi, Ghana. Lett Appl Microbiol;37:334–9. of Saudi Arabia. Environment Int. 2003;23:247–51.

National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control. Guidelines for Registration of food and water manufactured in Nigeria NAFDAC/RR/ 005/00, 2009. Available at ng/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=103;2009. Accessed on 31 August 2017,

Musa U, Aliyu MA, Sadiq M. Mohammed IMA, Manase A, Mustapha DI. Quality Assessment of Sachet Water in Minna Metropolis of Niger State, Nigeria, Proceedings of 44th Annual Conference, Exhibition of Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE), (2014a) Nov. 20-22nd, 2014, Owerri, Imo State.

Mgbakor C, Ojiegbe GC, Okonko IO, Odu NN, Alli JA, Nwaze JC, Onoh CC. Bacteriological evaluation of some sachet water on sales in Owerri metropolis, Imo State, Nigeria. Malaysian J Microbiol. 2011;7:217-25.

Oladapo IC, Oyenike IC, Adebiyi AO. Microbiological analysis of some voided sachet water in Ogbomoso, Nigeria. Afr J Food Sci. 2009;3:406-12.

Leclerc H. Relationships between common water bacteria and pathogens in drinking-water. In: Bartram J, Cotruvo J, Exner M, Fricker C, Glasmacher A, editors. Heterotrophic Plate Counts and Drinking–water Safety. London, UK: IWA Publishing; 2003.

Igbeneghu OA, Lamikanra A. The bacteriological quality of different brands of bottled water available to consumers in Ile-Ife, south-western Nigeria. BMC Res Notes. 2014;7:859.

Orisakwe OE, Igwilo IO, Afonne OJ, Maduabuchi JU, Obi E, Nduka JC. Heavy Metal Hazards of Sachet Water in Nigeria. Arch Environ Occupational Health. 2006;61 (5):209-13.