Coliform Bacteria: Acceptable levels in Well, Spring, Pool & Drinking Water

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Humans live in a place where proper sanitization and hygiene are very important and without paying attention to these two important elements, we can never have a healthy life. On the other hand, if we suppress good sanitization and hygiene, it would create many health problems, the one we will discuss today.

We all know that clean water is a must-have thing in our diet. if we don’t pay attention to drinking clean water, we can develop various waterborne diseases. Out of all waterborne diseases, one is coliform bacteria in water.

Coliform bacteria are a type of waterborne disease that includes a group of bacteria that are usually present in the soil, well, spring, pools, and surface water. If we drink such water, we are prone to engulf coliform bacteria in our digestive tract. Coliform bacteria can also be present in human and animal feces.

💭 What are Indicator Organisms?

Check the word again “indicator”. As the name suggests, coliform bacteria can work as the indicator organism because they give the signs and signals of disease-causing bacteria present in the water.

This sort of bacteria does not have the destructive potential of making you ill because it is mostly present in the water to make you aware of the contamination pathways that may include septic system, surface water, or animal or human waste. It also indicates the other kinds of disease-causing bacteria that have more potential to make a person ill.

🤔 How can coliform bacteria in water affect your health?

When discussing any virus or bacteria, the most common question arises about how a specific bacterium can affect health. Likewise, most readers are interested in how a coliform bacterium can be harmful to them or what can be the symptoms if the coliform bacteria are present in water.

As we have discussed earlier, if well water, pool water, or soil water has just coliform bacteria in it, then most of the time it does not affect directly, however, some disease-causing bacteria associated with coliform bacteria can be dangerous.

If both the disease-causing bacteria and coliform bacteria are present in water, there can be common symptoms like gastrointestinal tract infections, general abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. These are some of the conditions that a person can feel if he has engulfed minor disease-causing bacteria.

Most of the time in households, people become immune to drinking contaminated water, and they develop immunity in the body against coliform bacteria in the water. The problem arises when guests come to the same household, and after drinking that contaminated water, they develop health issues.

Besides some general infections in the abdomen, some serious infections can be more harmful. These are as follows:

1. It can cause UTIs

E. coli is the bacteria that is a very dangerous disease-causing bacteria. A person that drinks contaminated well water has the chance to get E. coli in the urinary tract.

Getting E. coli can result in various health problems, specifical pain in the pelvis, and difficult urination. Consultation with a health professional becomes important in this case.

2. Typhoid

Typhoid is a very serious health condition that requires proper hospitalization and treatment by a health professional. The vaccination for Typhoid is common these days, and most people are not vaccinated.

Still, if a person is not vaccinated and drinks contaminated well water, he is likely to develop typhoid.

🔍 Coliforms Bacteria entry into well water

If you want to restrict the entry of coliforms into the well water, you must first know how these bacteria find the way to enter into it. Restricting coliforms to the well water can prevent many health conditions.

Most of us like to have rainfall, but if your water has not had proper sealing, then it is possible that the rainwater can wash the surrounding bacteria through the soil into the well water. Some common ways can take coliform into the well water, and you should seal these pathways.

  • Coliforms can enter the well water through the top of the well like a good cap.
  • If the sealing is not effective enough, then it can enter through a good pipe.
  • If your well’s pipes and pumps are not watertight, then there is the possibility that coliforms enter the well water.

There is a very important consideration that we usually ignore when it comes to preventing coliforms into the well water. We mostly forget not to locate the well near animals or human feces.

Most of the time, it’s not the design of the well that creates the problem but the location of the well that disinfects water with coliforms. Try not to construct well near agriculture sides like sewage or septic symptoms.

🧪 Coliform bacteria testing in well water

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of coliform bacteria testing in the well water once a year. Many tests can be beneficial to confirm whether you well are having coliform bacteria or not.

Out of all methods, the most common method to consider is laboratory testing. You can also check our guide on how to test well water.

Laboratory testing 

Private laboratory testing, as the name indicates, this type of testing is solely for water testing. To ensure that the well water is safe enough to drink or not, private laboratory testing can be very beneficial.

There are many benefits of trusting private laboratory testing when it comes to checking if there are any coliform bacteria in the well water or not. The promptest benefit that you can have is that it is much cheaper than many other tests of well water.

The other benefit of doing private laboratory testing is that it gives you the best results if there is any coliform bacteria in your well, spring, pool, or drinking water. It gives you the overall estimation of the bacterial growth in the water.

As we have mentioned above, there are not just coliform bacteria that can make the water contaminated, but many other bacteria make drinking water not safe to consume.

For testing, I recommend you to check out Tap Score which is the best-certified lab for water testing.

TapScore-Universal Bacteria Genetic Identification Test

The proper way that private laboratory testing labs use is to ask you to bring you a sample of the well water, and whatever the results they find after testing, they inform it through email or call. If you think the coliform bacteria test successfully happened, you can also test the well water for E. coli which is more dangerous than the coliform bacteria.

Drinking contaminated water with E. coli can worsen health, especially for people who are not built up immunity against this bacterium. You can find plenty of E. coli water testing kits that are available online.

🧠 Common disinfection methods to treat coliform bacteria in drinking water

As we have discussed earlier, the way a person can use to avoid the entrance of coliform and other bacteria in the well water, many other scientific procedures use chemicals and treatments to kill pathogens and harmful coliforms in the well water. We are going to discuss all those treatments in detail.

Don’t forget to read the article in detail for all the information you should know to avoid having bacteria in the drinking water.

1. Chlorination

The first procedure that we are going to discuss today is the chlorination method. The chlorination method is the most common method that is not just famous in the United States but also in many other countries. This cheap method is affordable and easy to handle for many specialists.

Coming towards the procedure of chlorination, in this method, a chlorine solution that is composed of sodium chloride is injected into the water. Not just that, along with chlorine solution, dry powder that has calcium hypochlorite in it does the rest of the magic. The procedures through which well water and disinfectants combine are suction-type chlorinators and chlorine droppers.

The role of chlorine in treating coliforms in the well water is that chlorine kills all the bacteria in the drinking water. Not just that, there are some common impurities in the drinking water that is usually hydrogen sulfide and iron. Chlorine does also plays a role in consuming all these impurities in the drinking water.

There are some technical terms that link to chlorination, and the first is chlorine demand. Chlorine demand means the amount of chlorine that is required to purify the drinking water. It varies from situation to situation. On average, 0.3 to 0.5 milligrams of chlorine is beneficial for drinking water.

Lastly, like any other treatment, the chlorination method also requires proper hygiene and maintenance. Chlorine supplies need replenishment routinely, and the operation needs proper checking every single time. This method is also helpful to treat coliform bacteria in pool water.

You can also use this method to treat coliform bacteria in pool water

2. Ultraviolet light

The next treatment that is more popular than chlorination is UV light. It is more popular than chlorination because in this process, there is no need to add the chemical in the well water, and most people prefer using this treatment method.

But, there is a disadvantage that connects with the treatment of UV light. The disadvantage of UV light is that it does not implement if the total coliform bacteria exceed 1000 colonies per 100Ml or the fecal coliform exceeds the limit of 100 colonies per 100ML.

Some considerations are very important to implement if you are using UV light to purify your well water. You should clear the water before treating it with UV light; there should not be any sediment or turbidity in the water. You can also check our reviews for the best whole house sediment water filters.

3. Boiling

If you are finding a less cheap method than chlorination and UV light, you must go to the boiling method as we all know that boiling is a very common method that we all use even in our households.

In commercial use, boiling is not very popular because it cannot purify water in bulk quantity, and it is therefore not a very good method of supply disinfection. But, if you are willing to boil a small amount of water, you should give it a try.

4. Ozonation method

This method is getting quite popular to kill all the unnecessary bacteria in the well water. Like chlorination, ozone is also an oxidant that kills all the dangerous bacteria in the well water. Commonly, this method is not preferred for the fact that it is costlier than any other method.

This method is common on a very high level where just removing bacteria is not the problem, but solving many other issues with removing bacteria is the problem. For example, the removal of E. coli with iron and manganese. Also, check our review for the best whole house iron filters for well water.

When it comes to taking care of yourself, one must consider it a very important element of life. There are so many health conditions in the world that a person can never imagine. Half of those health conditions are common because of the unhygienic practices common in daily households.

📑 FAQs

Is there any other useful way to adopt if we want to drink clean water?

We have tried to cover all the essential treatments you must follow if you want your well water to be free from any pathogen or bacteria. Read the full article in detail.

If you want to have clean water in a normal household, you should try the boiling method.

The boiling water method is the most common method that one can apply daily in the home. It does not require must cost but consider this point that it is not a permanent method. You have to take permanent precautionary measures.

What should be the time duration between water testing?

That’s is the most common question that we are receiving these days. According to the suggestions of EPA, one must test their well must at least once a year, but it varies from situation to situation.

If you are finding illness in the household, then you must test the well water quite often.

What is the most expensive and least expensive method for the treatment of well water?

When it comes to the treatment of well water, there are many ways, as we have discussed earlier. The most common method that everyone can practice in their households is the boiling method, but it is not a very good method if you strive for long-term methods.

UV light is an expensive method that most people avoid using.

💡 Conclusion

We have discussed in detail what coliform bacteria is, how it can enter the well water, what health problems it can cause, and how you can prevent it.

Now, it’s your turn to prove that this article has helped you in many ways and you have read all the given information with proper attention.

We all can prevent ourselves by applying all the precautionary measures and applying the treatment methods discussed above.