Bacteria in your drinking water

bacteria and viruses in drining water can pose a health risk

Disease-causing (pathogenic) bacterial or parasitic organisms in your drinking water may cause a lot of illnesses and the problem should be addressed to keep you and your family healthy. Unfortunately they can neither be seen, smelled or tasted. Only a water test can reveal them.

Pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria in your drinking water are known to lead to intestinal infections, dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid fever, cholera, and other illnesses.

Low quantities of pathogenic bacteria are often no problem for healthy adults but especially younger children, older people and people with a weak immune system might be affected.

A bacterial contamination is often caused be human or animal waste. Rodents or other animals inside your well may also increase the amount of pathogenic bacteria in your water.

Public water suppliers are required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regularly test the water and make sure the EPA standards for bacteria are met. If total coliform and/or E. coli bacteria is found, public notifications are issued as these are the most common forms of bacteria found in water supplies and they are used as indicators for water quality.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) by EPA for Total Coliform is 5.0%.

How to treat water containing pathogenic bacteria?

Boiling water before consumption is one of the oldest know techniques to get rid of bacteria. It is feasible for small amount of water.

Another method often used and also suitable for larger amounts of water is a treatment with chlorine. This is often done by public water suppliers.

Distillation also works against bacteria like Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella and E. Coli. protozoa like Cryptosporidium and Giardia, and viruses like Enteric, Hepatitis A, Norovirus and Rotavirus.