- Source - Bacteria are tiny organisms
occurring naturally in water. Not all types of bacteria are
harmful. Many organisms found in water are of no health concern
since they do not cause disease. Biological contamination may be
separated into two groups: (1) pathogenic (disease causing) and
(2) non-pathogenic (not disease causing). Pathogenic bacteria
cause illnesses such as typhoid fever, dysentery,
gastroenteritis, infectious hepatitis, and cholera. All water
supplies should be tested for biological content prior to use
and consumption. E.Coli (Escherichia Coli) is the coliform
bacterial organism which is looked for when testing the water.
This organism is found in the intestines and fecal matter of
humans and animals. If E.Coli is found in a water supply along
with high nitrate and chloride levels, it usually indicates that
waste has contaminated the supply from a septic system or sewage
dumping, and has entered by way of runoff, a fractured well
casing, or broken lines. If coliform bacteria is present, it is
an indication that disease causing bacteria may also be present.
Four or fewer colonies / 100 ml of coliforms, in the absence of
high nitrates and chlorides, implies that surface water is
entering the water system. If pathogenic bacteria is suspected,
a sample of water should be submitted to the Board of Health or
US EPA for bacteriological testing and recommendations.