Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

James Mihelcic, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maya Trotz, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Christian Wells, Ph.D.


Developing Country, Drinking Water, E. coli, Peri-Urban, Storage Tank Materials


The importance of water as a mechanism for the spread of disease is well recognized. This study conducted household surveys and measured several physical, chemical, and microbial water quality indicators in 37 elevated storage tanks constructed of different materials (polyethylene, fiberglass, cement) located in a peri-urban community near Cochabamba, Bolivia. Results show that although there is no significant difference in physical and chemical water quality between polyethylene, fiberglass and cement water storage tanks there is a difference in microbial contamination as measured by

E. Coli counts (p = 0.082). Evidence points toward elevated water temperatures that increase along the distribution system (from 10.6°C leaving the treatment plant) to within the black polyethylene storage tank (temperatures as high as 33.7°C) as the most significant factor in promoting bacterial growth. Results indicate that cleaning frequency may also contribute to microbial water quality (p = 0.102).