Can coliform bacteria in drinking water cause illnesses? The answer is yes. If it’s from animal or human waste, don’t drink the water. If you discover coliform in well water, make sure you boil the water and use the chlorination process. According to most professionals, well water should be tested annually for bacteria because nobody knows the number of bacteria present in our atmosphere at any given time.
Surface water will have coliform bacteria since most of the bacteria will be present in plants and soil. According to most experts, groundwater from a well-maintained well will not have coliform bacteria. Bacteria discovered in a well-constructed well will indicate that something wrong has happened.
What is Coliform Bacteria?
Coliform bacteria will comprise fecal coliform. It could be from animal or human waste. Once fecal coliform is present in well water, you need to avoid drinking the water. The bacteria could cause ailments such as diarrhea and stomach aches. Also, it is worth noting that other kinds of coliform bacteria in the water will not cause diseases.
However, since it is in your drinking water, there is a chance that harmful bacteria could be found in the water. You need to get the water tested and if it has coliform bacteria, ensure it is treated. Most homeowners are required to have water test tools. If you wish to test for bacteria privately, you can buy the kits.
What to Do Once Coliform is Detected in Water
If you have water that has coliform bacteria, you need to boil the contaminated water for about a minute, especially if you wish to use it to brush your teeth or wash dishes. With cutlery, you need to ensure they dry out completely before you use them. Bathing will not pose a threat. Always ensure your kids don’t consume the water.
Keep observing these measures until the tests indicate that the water is pure. Health experts will recommend that you inspect your house to see leaks or other related issues. If you have a plumbing problem and it is resolved, follow the proper steps when using chlorine to ensure the water is free of coliform. You could seek permanent treatment if issues persist.
What are the Safe Levels?
According to relevant agencies, there is an ongoing process of determining the safe level of coliform in well water. As the consumer, it is advised that you find out what is the safe level from the relevant authorities to know if you’re safe or not.
The Environmental Protection Agency states that it is still looking into research on water contaminants while remaining consistent with adhering to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The agency is tasked to identify the proper steps to show the safe levels of coliform.
Here is how to know if the coliform bacteria is harmful or not. Drinking water will be tested for coliforms, including E.coli. If the water is determined to be safe, results may be offered in various ways, including the following:
• Not Detected (ND)
• 0 unit per 100 millilitres (0 CFU/100 mL)
• Less than 1 unit per 100 milliliters (< 1 CFU/100mL)
The number 0 shows the amount of coliform per 100ml. Coliform bacteria in well water will show you have contaminated water. If you discover E.coli, then you will be dealing with fecal bacteria. This bacteria might have harmful microorganisms that can cause severe illnesses.
However, health effects will vary depending on the bacteria and microorganisms in the healthy water. If you’ve suffered from a waterborne disease, there is a chance that you could have had the following symptoms:
Kids and older adults, especially those with weak immunity, might deal with severe issues. Some microorganisms might affect the eyes, lungs, kidneys, skin, and other organs. For some, the effects could be fatal.
Don’t always drink water thinking it’s safe. Even if it hasn’t made you ill, you need to ensure the water is clean and treated. There is a chance that bacteria is present, and you could be sick later on.
Ways to Prevent Water Contamination at Home
Most health professionals recommend that you test water annually to see if there are coliform bacteria and viruses. Also, you need to hire a professional plumber to make sure water flowing through into your home doesn’t have bacteria and is treated for drinking.
Besides annual water testing, you could buy a high-quality water filter that can filter your drinking water at home.