Knowledge and Practices of Water Refilling Station Owners and Operators in Providing Safe and Wholesome Drinking Water Supply in One Municipality of Cavite

Monica Alice B. Cope, Samantha Anne S. Gutierrez, Moira Madelle C. Mañalac,  
Maria Lourdes Ann D.J. Ocampo, Pauline P. Perez and Romeo R. Quizon

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health,
College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila

Objectives. This study aimed to a) evaluate the knowledge of water refilling station (WRS) owners and operators regarding the proper techniques and procedures applicable to WRS based on the Certification Course for Water Refilling Station and Plan Operators (CCWRSPO); b) assess compliance to regular physical-chemical and microbiological testing of product water and sanitary permit acquisition and c) determine the quality of product water of selected water refilling stations (WRS) in a municipality in Cavite.

Methods. The study included WRS owners and operators who participated in the CCWRSPO from 2005 to 2009. A 50-item objective examination administered by the researchers was used to evaluate the knowledge of the respondents. This was formulated based on the objectives of the CCWRSPO. The compliance to legal requirements for WRS was assessed according to the results of the physical-chemical and microbiological tests (Multiple Tube Fermentation Technique and Pour Plate Method) and the presence of an updated sanitary permit. Results of product water analyses were compared to the 2007 Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water. Water refilling stations that failed to meet at least one of the three legal requirements were considered as "non-compliant".

Results and conclusion. Results showed that 71.8% of the respondents passed the written examination whereas 28.2% obtained scores less than 50.0%. Chi-square analysis indicated that there was no significatnt difference between the knowledge of the trainees in 2005 to 2008 and the trainees in 2009. Similarly, majority (78.9%) of the WRS included in the study were found to be non-compliant with the provisions of P.D. 856 and the prescribed standards for water quality. The quality of product water served as an important determinant of the compliance of WRS. Although majority of the water samples tested had acceptable microbiological examination results, 16.9% of the samples exceeded the standards for microbiological water quality. Aside from this, the non-compliance of WRS was attributed to the absence of an updated sanitary permit, which was one of the important indicators product water quality. Chi-square analysis showed that the trainees who have been operating WRS for only a year after the certification course were less compliant as compared to those operating for two to five years.

Key Words: water supply, water safety, sanitation, CCWRSPO, WRS, P.D. 856, PNSDW