Article

Public perceptions of drinking water: a postal survey of residents with private water supplies.

Division of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, A1B 3V6, Canada.
BMC Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.08). 02/2006; 6:94. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-6-94
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In Canada, the legal responsibility for the condition of private water supplies, including private wells and cisterns, rests with their owners. However, there are reports that Canadians test these water supplies intermittently and that treatment of such water is uncommon. An estimated 45% of all waterborne outbreaks in Canada involve non-municipal systems. An understanding of the perceptions and needs of Canadians served by private water supplies is essential, as it would enable public health professionals to better target public education and drinking water policy. The purpose of this study was to investigate the public perceptions of private water supplies in the City of Hamilton, Ontario (Canada), with the intent of informing public education and outreach strategies within the population.
A cross-sectional postal survey of 246 residences with private water supplies was conducted in May 2004. Questions pertained to the perceptions of water quality and alternative water sources, water testing behaviours and the self-identified need for further information.
Private wells, cisterns or both, were the source of household water for 71%, 16% and 13% of respondents, respectively. Although respondents rated their water quality highly, 80% also had concerns with its safety. The most common concerns pertained to bacterial and chemical contamination of their water supply and its potential negative effect on health. Approximately 56% and 61% of respondents used in-home treatment devices and bottled water within their homes, respectively, mainly due to perceived improvements in the safety and aesthetic qualities compared to regular tap water. Testing of private water supplies was performed infrequently: 8% of respondents tested at a frequency that meets current provincial guidelines. Two-thirds of respondents wanted more information on various topics related to private water supplies. Flyers and newspapers were the two media reported most likely to be used.
Although respondents rated their water quality highly, the majority had concerns regarding the water from their private supply, and the use of bottled water and water treatment devices was extensive. The results of this study suggest important lines of inquiry and provide support and input for public education programs, particularly those related to private water testing, in this population.

0 0
 · 
0 Bookmarks
 · 
97 Views
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A cross-sectional study investigated risk factors associated with choices to drink bottled water and tap water in rural Saskatchewan. Of 7,500 anonymous postal questionnaires mailed out, 2,065 responses were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models. Those who reported a water advisory (p < 0.001) or living in the area for £10 years (p = 0.01) were more likely to choose bottled water. Those who reported tap water was not safe to drink were more likely to choose bottled water, an effect greater for those who had no aesthetic complaints (p ≤ 0.001), while those with aesthetic complaints were more likely to choose bottled water if they believed the water was safe (p < 0.001). Respondents who treated their water and did not use a community supply were more likely to choose bottled water (p < 0.001), while those who did not treat their water were more likely to choose bottled water regardless of whether a community supply was used (p < 0.001). A similar pattern of risk factors was associated with a decreased likelihood of consuming tap water daily; however, the use of a community water supply was not significant. Understanding the factors involved in drinking water choices could inform public health education efforts regarding water management in rural areas.
    International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 01/2014; 11(2):1626-46. · 2.00 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: As bottled mineral water market is increasing in the world (especially in emergent and developed countries), the development of a simple protocol to train a panel to evaluate sensory properties would be a useful tool for natural drinking water industry. A sensory protocol was developed to evaluate bottled natural mineral water (17 still and 10 carbonated trademarks). The tasting questionnaire included 13 attributes for still water plus overall impression and they were sorted by: colour hues, transparency and brightness, odour/aroma and taste/flavour/texture and 2 more for carbonated waters (bubbles and effervescence). The training lasted two months with, at least, 10 sessions, was adequate to evaluate bottled natural mineral water. To confirm the efficiency of the sensory training procedure two sensory groups formed the whole panel. One trained panel (6 persons) and one professional panel (6 sommeliers) and both participated simultaneously in the water tasting evaluation of 3 sample lots. Similar average scores obtained from trained and professional judges, with the same water trademarks, confirmed the usefulness of the training protocol. The differences obtained for trained panel in the first lot confirm the necessity to train always before a sensory procedure. A sensory water wheel is proposed to guide the training in bottled mineral water used for drinking, in connection with their chemical mineral content.
    Food Chemistry 11/2013; 141(1):625-36. · 3.33 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The first objective of this study was to investigate the public perceptions of private water and alternative sources with respect to safety, quality, testing and treatment in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Canada. The second objective was to provide public health practitioners with recommendations for improving knowledge translation (KT) efforts in NL, based on assessments of respondents' perceived information needs and preferred KT methods. A cross-sectional telephone survey of 618 households with private water supplies was conducted in March-April, 2007. Questions pertained to respondents' perceptions of their tap water, water concerns, alternative water use, well characteristics, and water testing behaviours. Approximately 94% of households were supplied by private wells (50% drilled and 50% dug wells), while 6% obtained water from roadside ponds, rivers or springs (RPRS). While 85% rated their water quality highly, 55% nevertheless had concerns about its overall safety. Approximately 11% of respondents never tested their water, and of the 89% that had, 80% tested at frequencies below provincial recommendations for bacterial testing. More than one-third of respondents reported treating their water in the home, and 78% employed active carbon filtration methods. Respondents wanted more information on testing options and advice on effective treatment methods. Targeted advertising through television, flyers/brochures and/or radio is recommended as a first step to increase awareness. More active KT methods involving key stakeholders may be most effective in improving testing and treatment behaviour. The results presented here can assist public health practitioners in tailoring current KT initiatives to influence well owner stewardship behaviour.
    BMC Public Health 12/2013; 13(1):1225. · 2.08 Impact Factor

Full-text

View
2 Downloads
Available from

Andria Q Jones