Microbiological water quality in a decentralized Arctic drinking water system†
Drinking water samples were collected from the water source, water delivery truck, domestic water storage tanks, and at the point of use in a decentralized drinking water system in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, a predominantly Inuit community in Canada's Arctic region. The samples were analyzed for standard water quality parameters (turbidity, colour, pH, conductivity), biological water quality parameters (coliforms, adenosine triphosphate), and free and total chlorine. The microbial communities in a subset of water and biofilm samples were characterized with DNA analysis. Physiochemical characteristics at the tap were influenced by source water quality and building-specific conditions. Multiple aesthetic water quality parameters were above recommended values including turbidity and colour. Turbidity and biological activity (measured as cellular ATP) varied temporally in some locations. DNA analysis at the phylum, family, and genus level demonstrated that microbial ecology evolved from source water to tap and that individual storage tanks and taps were influenced by distinct microbial communities.