Testing Your Water For E. Coli
Most people associate E. coli with food poisoning, but the bacteria can also contaminate the drinking water. Although the EPA requires public water systems to test for total coliforms and e. coli routinely, many homes and businesses in upstate New York have a private well for drinking water. The EPA rule does not apply to private well owners. In 1999, over 1,000 people became sick, some seriously ill, after drinking water contaminated with e. coli at the Washington County (NY) Fairgrounds. It was determined that a contaminated well located near a cow barn was the source.
E. coli does not affect the taste, smell, or appearance of the water. Testing for E. Coli is the only way to determine if the bacteria are in your tap water. The New York State Department of Health recommends owners of private wells test their water for total coliforms and e. coli bacteria at least once per year.
The Water Source offers a free comprehensive water test that will determine if E. coli or other bacteria, viruses, and impurities are present in well water.
What is E. Coli
Escherichia Coli (E. coli) is a specific type of total coliform bacteria known as fecal coliform bacteria that live in the digestive tract of humans and some animals. There are several strains of E. Coli, and most strains are harmless bacteria that aid in digestion. However, some strains, such as E. Coli O157:H7, can make people very ill. Its symptoms include cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. It can also cause more severe health problems such as fever, bleeding, acute kidney failure, confusion, and seizures. These severe symptoms indicate a potentially life-threatening emergency and require immediate medical assistance. Another type of E. Coli can cause Shiga, a toxin that can damage the lining of the intestines.
How Does E. Coli Contaminate the Water?
E. Coli bacteria can enter the water supply through surface water and soil contaminated with human or animal fecal matter. Agriculture runoff, industrial waste, and raw sewage can pollute the soil with fecal coliform bacteria that make their way into rivers, lakes, streams, and other water sources and contaminate the drinking water. A septic tank can also leak waste into the soil and contaminate a nearby well with e. coli.
Removing E. Coli from Well Water
The most effective methods for killing total coliforms, including e. coli bacteria in well water, is reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration and Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. The semi-permeable membrane in our RO water treatment system removes e. coli and other bacteria, cysts, viruses, and pollutants that may be in the water. The impurities are flushed from the system, and clean, pure, and healthy water is distributed to every faucet in the home or business. UV disinfection uses specified wavelengths of light to kill 99.9% of harmful microorganisms in the water, including total coliforms and e. coli. A trained water specialist will help you decide which water treatment solution is best for your home and business. Contact us to schedule your free water test today!