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  The IUP Journal of Biotechnology
Bacteriological Assessment of Pharmaceutical Wastewater and Its Public Health Implications in Nigeria
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A total of 108 wastewater samples were collected for a period of three (3) months and analyzed for bacteriological properties. Wastewaters were collected from the point of discharge (PA), point of contact with the external environment (PB) and downstream of Chanchaga river (PC). The results of this study revealed that the Chanchaga river and its environment were polluted by wastewater discharge from the factory. The downstream of Chanchaga river (PC) had higher bacterial counts than the other sampling sites. The bacteria isolated were E. coli, Salmonella sp., Klebsiella sp., Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Proteus vulgaris, Clostridium sp. and Streptococcus faecalis. The mean total viable counts ranged from 4.8 104 cfu/mL to 3.0 108 cfu/mL, 2.0 107 cfu/mL to 4.0 108 cfu/mL for total coliform counts, 1.3 103 cfu/mL to 3.0 108 cfu/mL for Salmonella/Shigella counts, 340 MPN/ 100 mL to = 1600 MPN/100 mL for fecal coliform (E. coli) and no Clostridium were detected in PA, while PB and PC had Clostridium counts of 2.0 103 cfu/mL and 1.0 103 cfu/mL, respectively, only in June. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) of the data showed that there were significant differences between the counts at 5% level of significance (P < 0.05), while there was no significant difference between the mean total viable counts, total coliform counts and Salmonella/Shigella counts for PA and PB. The PC fecal coliform (E. coli) counts were higher than the acceptable maximum limits (0 cfu/mL) prescribed by WHO for potable water. The results of this study revealed that discharged untreated pharmaceutical wastewater into the environment and Chanchaga river pollutes the river with pathogenic bacteria. This poses a health risk and could be hazardous to human health, especially to the communities that use water from the river for domestic purposes. Therefore, there is a need for wastewater treatment facility to be installed in the pharmaceutical factory to reduce the risk of health hazard to the users of Chanchaga river and for constant monitoring of the industrial wastewater discharged into the environment.

 
 

Wastewater is used water draining out of homes and industries that contains a wide variety of chemicals, debris and microorganisms. It contains large amounts of solid waste, dissolved organic matter and toxic chemicals that pose a health risk. It is composed of all the materials that flow from household plumbing systems, including washing water, toilet waste, bathing water, domestic wastewater, ground, surface and atmospheric waters that enter the sewage system (Prescott et al., 2005; Talaro, 2005; and Prescott et al., 2008). Pharmaceutical wastewaters are liquid waste generated by the pharmaceutical industries during the process of drugs manufacturing. The steps involved in the compounding of drugs generate air emission, liquid waste and solid waste (Ulamen and Robert, 2006).

Among such wastes discharged as partially treated or untreated in Nigeria are pharmaceutical wastewaters. Drugs are designed to stimulate a physiological response in human, animals, bacteria and other organisms (Kummerer, 2003). Many pharmaceuticals and personal care products (as well as their metabolites and byproducts) can enter the environment and finally the food chain following ingestion or application by the user or administration to domestic animals. Aquatic environment serves as the major ultimate receiving end for these chemicals, of which little is known with respect to their actual or potential adverse effects. During the past decade, concern has grown about the adverse effect that the use and disposal of pharmaceuticals might potentially have on human and ecological health (Kummerer, 2003). In the last 15 to 20 years, there have been several reports of pharmaceuticals in the environment: human and veterinary drugs were detected in river water and even in drinking water (Richardson and Bowron, 1985; and Halling- Sorensen et al., 1998). Although reported levels are very low, effects were observed, with a noteworthy example being hormone disruption in fish due to the presence of estrogens in the environment. Drug substances may reach the environment via use or disposal. Patients will usually excrete a drug or its metabolites, which will then pass on to a sewage treatment plant. There, it may be (partially) degraded, it may absorb to the sludge or it may remain in the effluent. After processing in the sewage treatment plant, the sludge is usually incinerated, but it may also be spread on the land and then leach into the soil and eventually into the groundwater. In the case of disposal, depending on the route (drain, household or industrial waste), pharmaceutical wastewater may enter the groundwater and surface water via a sewage treatment plant or by leaching from a land fill site (Halling-Sorensen et al., 1998).

 
 
 

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