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Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 8385369, 12 pages
Research Article

Assessment of a Physicochemical Indexing Method for Evaluation of Tropical River Water Quality

Faculty of Resource Science & Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia

Correspondence should be addressed to Siong Fong Sim

Received 29 June 2017; Accepted 4 December 2017; Published 8 January 2018

Academic Editor: Samuel B. Dampare

Copyright © 2018 Siong Fong Sim and Szewei Elaine Tai. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper attempts to evaluate the Malaysian water quality indexing method that has been criticized for its ineffectiveness. The indexing method is referred to as the Water Quality Index of the Department of Environment, Malaysia (DOE-WQI). This index was assessed against two other indices (River Ganga Index and Minimal Water Quality Index ) and a modified DOE-WQI was also proposed. DOE-WQI and are physicochemical indices, whereas the River Ganga Index and modified DOE-WQI are indices with the inclusion of a microbiological parameter. The assessment was conducted based on the water quality of tropical rivers in Malaysia, with specific reference to Sarawak River and its tributaries. Water quality in terms of pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, turbidity, total suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, ammoniacal nitrogen, and fecal coliform count (FCC) was measured from 18 stations in December 2015, January 2016, and March 2016. Generally, the river was characterized with high FCC with the four indices significantly correlated. The results demonstrated the shortcomings of the existing DOE-WQI; the physicochemical index assigned water quality to a better class than its actual conditions without taking into consideration the FCC.