Upland and Coastal Freshwater Sources in Misamis Oriental, Philippines

A Comparison of Water Quality

  • Ronnie L. Besagas Mindanao University of Science and Technology
  • Antonio Y. Asoy Mindanao University of Science and Technology
  • Myrna S. Ceniza Mindanao University of Science and Technology
  • Girlie D. Leopoldo Mindanao University of Science and Technology
  • Noel T. Dael Mindanao University of Science and Technology
  • Romeo M. Del Rosario Mindanao University of Science and Technology
Keywords: freshwater, drinking water, physico-chemical characteristics, heavy metals, total coliform, E. coli


This paper compared upland and coastal spring freshwaters in Misamis Oriental interms of their physico-chemical properties, heavy metal contents, and microbiological characteristics. The physico-chemical properties included the following: turbidity, temperature, pH, conductivity, total dissolve solids (TDS), salinity, chlorides, total hardness and total organic carbon (TOC). The heavy metals determined were lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), aluminum (Al), arsenic (As), mercury (Hg), antimony (Sb), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), and iron (Fe). For the microbiological assessment, total coliform count and E. coli detection was tested. The results of physico-chemical analyses have shown that both coastal and upland freshwaters from spring sources passed the standard requirements of the Philippines, USA, EU and WHO. The upland freshwaters, however, are better than the coastal freshwaters since the former are significantly lower in conductivity, TDS, salinity, chlorides, and TOC. Favorable findings have been seen also for the heavy metals which pass the different standards except for antimony, which is somewhat doubtful when assessed against the stricter USA and EU standards. The microbiological test results revealed substantial contaminations with fecal bacteria for both upland and coastal freshwater sources. Being indicator species, the heavy load of total coliform and the presence of E. coli in both kinds of freshwaters indicate the high possibility of the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in the waters. Hence, there is an eminent health risk in drinking these waters prior to their disinfection. These results call for appropriate and effective action since these spring sources are some of the major drinking water sources of Misamis Oriental.