Water quality in rivers of Bahia State cities, Brazil

ABSTRACT Monitoring and evaluation of surface water quality are of paramount importance for the sustainable management of water resources. Hence, the objective of this study was to evaluate the water quality of rivers located in different cities. Ten cities in the State of Bahia were selected, seven with sewage public system and three without it. We used the quarterly registry of the thermotolerant coliforms concentration of INEMA, BOD, total P, DO and water quality index of 14 points monitored in the period from 2008 to 2015. Data underwent statistical analysis using Kruskal-Wallis test. We verified that the cities of Feira de Santana, Itabuna, Jequié and Itororó, which have the sewage system and the highest percentages of population served with sewage in the urban area were those that presented the highest percentage of points in dissonance with CONAMA Resolution n. 357/2005 for the four evaluated parameters and the lowest water quality index values. This result may possibly be related to the fact that these cities present the largest number of inhabitants and, therefore, generate larger volumes of potentially sewage in rivers, when compared to cities without public sanitary sewage. The sewage system universalization and effectiveness are measures that may contribute to the improvement of river water quality, considering the discharge of sewage is the main cause for water quality degradation.