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© 2002, WHO

Heterotrophic plate count measurement in drinking water safety management: Report of an Expert Meeting, Geneva, 24-25 April 2002

HPC measurement cover

This report provides an assessment of the public health significance of "heterotrophic plate count" (HPC) measurements in drinking-water quality management, based on a review of presently available information and experience by an international group of experts. It deals with evidence concerning:

  • The relationship of HPC to health risk for the general public.
  • The role of HPC as an indirect indicator or index for pathogens of concern in drinking-water.
  • The role of HPC in assessing the efficacy and proper functioning of water treatment and supply processes.
  • The relationship of HPC to aesthetic acceptability of drinking water.

The scope of the report deals with safe water supply, extending from source to consumer, including plumbed-in devices, domestic and building environments, and water supplied in bottles or packages. The different uses for which drinking water may be used in the home are considered and specific concerns in higher risk settings and populations at increased risk are addressed.

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- Heterotrophic plate counts and drinking-water safety: The significance of HPCs for water quality and the human health
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