MSABI Water Quality Testing

MSABI has a well equipped laboratory within the Ifakara Health Institute where water quality is tested. The lab technician responsible for the water quality testing is Ms Fatuma Matwewe. Fatuma has a Science degree from Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro. She also completed a three month training course with Dr Jacqueline Thomas (WaSH Research) prior to taking the position.  The water quality tests are completed in accordance with international methods and results compared to both the Tanzanian and World Health Organization water quality standards

MSABI offers a range of microbiological, physical and chemical water quality tests. 

Escherichia coli
Ammonium - nitrogen
Total coliforms
Total dissolved solids
Thermotolerant coliforms
Heterotrophic plate counts

Total suspended solids


Hardness (CaCO3)




Membrane filtration unit; 100 mL of water is filtered through a 0.45 micron filter to capture the bacteria for microbiological water quality tests.
Bacteria growing on a membrane filter with M-coliBlue media after 24 h incubation at 37 degrees. Blue colonies are Escherichia coli and red colonies are Total coliforms. E.coli is an indicator of faecal contamination and for safe drinking there should be none detected in 100 mL.
Thermotolerant faecal coliforms growing on membrane lauryl sulphate broth inclubated at 44 degrees for 18 h. Yellow colonies are faecal coliforms and red colonies are other thermotolerant bacteria. Thermotolerant faecal coliforms are an indicator of faecal contamination also and for safe drinking water none should be detected in 100 mL. However, E. coli are a more exact and reliable indicator.
The turbidity of the water is a good indicator of how many solids are in the water or how 'dirty' it is. A nephelometer is used to measure the turbidity of the water in the lab.
Chemical tests are conducted using sachets of reagents. Here nitrate tests are being prepared in the glass sample vials.
Chemical tests are read in a Hach Spectrophotometer in accordance with the specific protocol for that chemical reagent. The largest problems with chemicals in the water tested are low levels of arsenic and iron.