The Quality of Water From Artesian Drinking Fountains in the City of Zaječar

Milijana Vučković1, Ivica Dimkić2, Vesna Marušić1, Tatjana Stević3, Slaviša Stanković2 and Tanja Berić2

 

1 National Institute of Public Health „Timok", Sremska 13, 19000 Zaječar, Serbia

2 Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia; Telephone: +381 11 2637364; Fax: +381 11 2638 500; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

3 Institute for Medicinal Plants Research „Dr Josif Pančić", Tadeuša Košćuška 1, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia

 

 

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the sanitary (health) aspect of the quality of drinking water collected from 31 artesian fountains in the City of Zaječar. The analyses included the monitoring of bacteriological, physical and physicochemical parameters according to the Regulation on the hygienic quality of drinking water (Official Gazette of the Republic Serbia, number 42/98 and 44/99). The satisfactory quality of the water samples from the artesian drinking fountains, according to the existing legal basis in our country, was established for 72.14% of samples in 2013 and 72.42% of samples in 2014. The leading causes of unsatisfactory water quality from artesian drinking fountains were physicochemical parameters, increased pH values, turbidity and noticeable color.

Keywords: artesian drinking fountain, alternative water supplies, hygienic quality of drinking water, sustainability of water resources.

 

Introduction

Water is one of the most important and abundant compounds of the biosphere. All living organisms on the earth need water for their survival and growth. Water represents one of the most important raw material and a necessary prerequisite for life on Earth. It occupies a huge part of the surface of the planet Earth. However, only a small part of the vast amounts is available for drinking and other purposes. Hygienically safe drinking water is a prerequisite for good health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked water supply and the quality of drinking water among the 12 basic indicators of the health status of a population in a country, which confirms its important role in protecting and improving health. Of the total amount of water on the planet, only 1% is usable for drinking, of which more than half is polluted (Djukanović, 1991) due to increased human population, industrialization, use of fertilizers in agriculture and man-made activity. Using groundwater as a water supply dates back to the ancient Romans. The first artesian well, which gave pressurized water, was made in the year 1126 in Artois in the South France, and later on all such wells were named accordingly (Vujasinović and Matić, 2009). Artesian aquifers represent a special type of aquifer where the groundwater level is between the two aquifers and under high hydrostatic pressure (Velojić, 1999).

Natural resources are significant from two aspects: from the aspect of survival of mankind and human society and from the aspect of economic development and prosperity of mankind and human society. Among the natural resources, groundwater resources occupy a special place both in the world and in Serbia. According to the classification of natural resources in the European Union, groundwater belongs to the renewable resources group. The available groundwater resources, regardless of their type and quantity, represent an indispensable part in the upcoming trade and economic development of Serbia; therewith their investigation, proper use and protection from pollution must be deliberately directed and controlled in order to be preserved for present and future generations.

Underground waters have a major economic and environmental importance, and play an essential role in maintaining public health. Water quality of the artesian aquifer is generally very good, in both the chemical and bacteriological sense. Being located beneath several layers of clay, it is very well protected against atmospheric pollution and has a virtually unchanged composition over time. Usually it is stable in terms of quality and quantity; however the effects of pollution and excessive exploitation could lead to drastic changes and the period of recovery that would last for centuries. Groundwaters in Serbia are used depending on their natural resources and the available quantity of water supply for population and industry, for balneotherapy and spa tourism, for bottling as well as for heating and irrigation.