The public health significance of latrines discharging to groundwater used for drinking

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Faecal contamination of groundwater from pit latrines is widely perceived as a major threat to the safety of drinking water for several billion people in rural and peri-urban areas worldwide. This study, conducted by icddr,b on the floodplains of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta in Bangladesh, found (i) that leakage from pit latrines is a minor contributor to faecal contamination of drinking water in alluvialdeltaic terrains; (ii) fears of increased groundwater pollution should not constrain expanding latrine coverage, and (iii) that more attention should be given to reducing contamination around the well-head.

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Date: 12 September 2017