Lacking a connection to a commnity water system: Water quality and human health impacts in El Paso colonias

Yolanda Jane McDonald, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Water-borne disease and its symptoms, such as stomach cramps and diarrhea, are a serious concern in areas that are not connected to a public water system. To investigate the impacts of not being connected to a community water system, I surveyed households in El Paso County colonias that were not connected to a community water system (household n = 75, individual n= 293) and households that were connected to a community water system (household n = 75, individual n= 320). I conducted 150 door-to-door surveys and tested water samples from each household for free residual chlorine level, turbidity level, presence of total coliforms and E.coli during November 19, 2011 through January 27, 2012. Using this data, I applied an environmental and economic injustice approach to analyze the relationship between socio-demographics, water costs, water quality, water storage practices, sanitation, and health outcomes using descriptive statistics, independent samples differences of means t-test, z-tests for two proportions, bivariate correlations, and logistic regression. I found that all households connected to a community water system met overall EPA standards for water quality, while only 66% of households not connected to a community water system met this standard. The data on water costs affirmed the economic injustice that those without community water systems are burdened with. The logistic regression results illustrated that sub-standard water quality was a significant predictor of gastrointestinal symptoms, apart from socio-demographics.^

Subject Area

Environmental Health|Health Sciences, Public Health|Sociology, Environmental Justice

Recommended Citation

McDonald, Yolanda Jane, "Lacking a connection to a commnity water system: Water quality and human health impacts in El Paso colonias" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1512587.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1512587

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