The aim of this study was to assess drinking water quality at public schools in Jenin directorate of education. A structured questionnaire was conducted and submitted to schools according to geographical area (east Jenin villages, west Jenin villages, and Jenin city), drinking water sources, location of school (rural & urban), and different grade levels of schools. 59 samples of drinking water were collected from schools faucets and tested for different physiochemical (pH, Free Residual Chlorine, Turbidity, EC, Total Hardness,) and microbiological (Total Coliforms and Fecal Coliforms) characteristics. The research results indicated that the drinking water sources of the schools of different grade levels include: municipal water only, purchased water tanks (unknown source of water), agricultural wells, direct from Mekorot Company, and rain water harvesting.
With respect to physical and chemical analysis, all items conform to PSI and WHO Guidelines except the total hardness, 20% of schools exceeded the standards, and free residual chlorine were 70% of schools had value less than the minimum standard.
Schools purchasing water tanks or use agricultural wells, rain water harvesting all have total coliform bacteria and fecal coliform bacteria in their water.
Schools in rural area had higher percent of contamination than schools in urban area. And schools in villages in east Jenin had the highest rate of microbe detection (TC: 52.9%), (FC: 41.2%).
Results showed a significant relationship between the long interruption in municipal water supply and water contamination, while there was no relation between the absence of free residual chlorine in drinking water and the presence of contamination.
In all schools tanks for drinking water are separated from water tanks for other purposes, all the tanks at the roof of the school and made from plastic only. All schools make sure periodically that water tanks are closed. All school principals had no idea about how close the cesspits were from school water network or well (if there is).