Assessment of Chemical and Microbiological Drinking Water of Beirut and Mount Lebanon

Fatima Abou Abbass, Nada Nehme, Bachar Koubaissy, Zeinab Ibrahim, Walaa Diab, Khaled Tarawneh


Lebanon is known for its abundant water resources, but it faces significant challenges with water supply shortages, particularly in delivering water to residential areas and public facilities. This problem is compounded by a high rate of pollution, both in pipelines and bottled water. To address the issue of water-related diseases, this research was conducted to assess the water quality of 79 drinking water samples from Beirut and Mount Lebanon using the Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) with Ultra Sonic Nebulizer (USN) method. The study found that most element concentrations in the water samples are within the acceptable range set by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, four elements were highlighted as areas of concern: sodium, arsenic, mercury, and calcium, as their concentrations were outside the accepted WHO range. Specifically, 23% of sites showed high mercury concentrations from various potential sources, 76% of sites had elevated arsenic levels, and 91% of sites had low calcium concentrations, indicating weak mineralization in the drinking water. Additionally, 20% of sites had high sodium concentrations, and 9% had high calcium concentrations due to the presence of carbonate rock reservoirs, particularly limestone, which increases water hardness. The microbiological analysis of water samples showed that 60.76% of the samples contained bacteria. Among the samples, 46% were contaminated by total coliform, and 33% showed contamination by fecal coliform. Additionally, 30% of the samples contained Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and 39% were contaminated with E. coli. These findings indicate that a significant percentage of the tested water samples have microbial contamination, posing potential health risks to consumers. Proper water treatment and monitoring measures are essential to ensure the safety and quality of drinking water and to reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases.

Keywords: Lebanon, Drinking water, Pollution, heavy metals, treatment.

DOI: 10.7176/JEES/13-6-01

Publication date:August 31st 2023

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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