Bacteria

   Basic Profile

Overview

Aquatek's bacteria test detects the presence of Coliform. Coliform bacteria are commonly found in soil, on vegetation, and in surface water. They also live in the intestine of warm-blooded animals. These bacteria are used as indicators in water tests because their presence indicates that disease-causing organisms could also be in the water. One particular type of coliform organism, called E. coli, is an indicator of fecal contamination. Feces and sewage wastes are usually the source of E. coli bacteria.

Sources

Well water contamination is usually caused when surface water picks up bacteria from the ground and runs off into your well through a defect in your well casing. Coliform bacteria is commonly detected after heavy rains and hurricanes due to this excessive run off of rain water. Improperly sealed wells can also allow sewage, insects and rodents to contaminate your well water.

Health Effects

Most coliform do not cause illness, however they indicate the potential for disease causing strains of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa to be present. Waterborne disease from these organisms typically involves flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea.

When to Test

The EPA recommends that all private wells be tested annually for total coliforms as part of the basic test for drinking water. Bacteria testing should also be done for the following:

  • After wells are installed, repaired or reconditioned.
  • A sudden change occurs in your water's taste, appearance, or odor.
  • The water turns cloudy after rainfall or the top of the well was flooded.
  • You suspect contamination from a septic system or farm that is within 50 ft of your well.
  • Family members are experiencing unexplained flu-like symptoms.

How to Treat Wells Contaminated with Bacteria

Most bacterial contamination can be rectified through well and supply line chlorination. If contamination occurs regularly a water treatment specialist may be needed to look for defects in your well casing. Defects include insufficient well casing depth, improper sealing, and cracked well casings.