Author(s): Benouis K, Benabderrahmane M, HarracheChettouh D, Benabdeli K
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Abstract In Algeria, large numbers of people regularly go to Turkish baths or "Hammams". The cold tap water of the baths in the town of Sidi-Bel-Abbes (Algeria) comes either from wells or from a mixture of potable waterworks water and well water. Its principal use is for personal hygiene (washing). However, the steam heat generates thirst that can cause users to drink cold water during the steam bath. In addition, the wells feeding the baths are often poorly protected and especially badly treated. To ascertain whether their water quality, particularly bacteriological, meets the requirements for drinking water, we studied the characteristics of water from ten Turkish baths in Sidi-Bel-Abbes. Bacteriological analyses of cold water showed signs of contamination of fecal origin in 50\% of the samples analysed. Moreover two water points from two of the baths appeared to have permanent fecal contamination. The physicochemical analysis showed that the water was very high in calcium (up to 550 mg/L) and magnesium (up to 299 mg/L). The maximum nitrate level observed was 68 mg/L. This study thus showed the existence of a health risk due to deterioration in the quality of the bath water and demonstrated the need for protection of the wells, frequent purification, and regular microbiological testing.
This article was published in Sante
and referenced in International Journal of Public Health and Safety