The majority of the bottled water brands sold on St. Maarten are “non-compliant,” Inspector General Dr. Earl Best said last night. This was reported by The Daily Herald. Samples of different brands of bottled water were collected on March 25, August 7 and September 30, and analysed to determine the quality and compliance with legislation. The list might not be complete, Best said in a statement. Some brands are imported on occasion and not always available, but the most common brands have been examined. To understand and interpret the results of the analysis, Best provided a brief explanation of the most relevant parameters. The norms are based on the Ordinance “Quality drinking water” (AB 2013 GT no. 754) and supplements.
The pH is a measure of the acidity/alkaline balance in a solution and is determined mainly by the bicarbonate/ carbon dioxide/carbonate balance. Careful attention to pH control is necessary at all stages of water treatment to ensure satisfactory water clarification and disinfection. The pH is of major importance in determining the corrosivity (aggressiveness) of water. In general, the lower the pH, the higher the level of corrosion. However, pH is only one of a variety of factors affecting corrosion in distribution networks and household pipes which may lead to adverse effects on its taste, odour and appearance. The norm for bottled water: above 7.8 and below 8.5. Health risks: At very low (below 4) or very high (above 10) pH water may lead to skin and eye irritation and gastrointestinal disorders, but usually has no direct impact on humans.
Conductivity is a measure of the ability of water to pass an electrical current. It is affected by the presence of inorganic dissolved solids, either present or added, such as chloride, nitrate, sulphate and phosphate anions (ions that carry a negative charge) or sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and aluminium cations (ions that carry a positive charge). Organic compounds like oil, phenol, alcohol and sugar do not conduct electrical current very well and therefore have a low conductivity when in water. Conductivity is also affected by temperature: the warmer the water, the higher the conductivity. For this reason, conductivity is reported as conductivity at 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). The norm for bottled water: below 100mS/m.
Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water. It is used to indicate water quality and filtration effectiveness (e.g., whether disease-causing organisms are present). Higher turbidity levels often are associated with higher levels of disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites and some bacteria. These organisms can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhoea and associated headaches. The norm for bottled water: clear water and the lower the turbidity, the better.
Bacteria in water can cause waterborne illness. E. coli and Enterococci live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals. E.coli bacteria produce a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness. Infection often causes severe bloody diarrhoea and abdominal cramps; sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhoea. Frequently, no fever is present. In some people, particularly children under five years of age and the elderly, the infection also can cause a complication called haemolytic uremic syndrome, in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. About 2-7 per cent of infections lead to this complication which is a life-threatening condition, usually treated in an intensive care unit. Blood transfusions and kidney dialysis are often required. Some other, less harmful bacteria may be present up to a certain amount, which is measured by the plate count.
The norm for bottled water: below 20 kve/ml. T-Coli (total Coli form). Not a health threat in itself, it is used to indicate whether other potentially harmful bacteria may be present. The norm for bottled water: 0 kve/250 ml (not present). E-Coli: will be determined only if T-Coli is positive. The norm for bottled water: 0 kve/250 ml (not present).