Coliform Bacteria in Water: What It Is and Why You Should Mind

Coliform Bacteria in WaterWhat It Is and Why You Should Mind
Little do we know, the public is still skeptical about the safety of their drinking water. Who can blame them? Society has been terrifying enough to trust that even water, nowadays, can be dangerous. Only to consider that water is one of the most important necessities of people.
Questions on the safety and portability of drinking water have been a part of human curiosity. Moreover, it has been bugging people ever since. The truth is, we still do not trust if we are taking in water that is safe for consumption or luring ourselves to what should not be.
In all fairness, there is no harm in doubting the safety of drinking water nowadays. Various harmful components like fluoride have been tested and found to be present in drinking water. Also, many attempts have been made to keep water safe.
One of the most common particles that are no surprise to everyone is coliform bacteria in drinking water. What is coliform, and why should you mind them being in the water that you drink?

Coliform Bacteria – A Natural Flora of the Body

There is no need to feel alarmed because coliform is a microorganism that is naturally present anywhere from the earth’s soil and vegetation to the normal flora of the gastrointestinal system of warm-blooded animals. These include humans; this type of bacteria is present anywhere.

Scientifically, it is defined as rod-shaped Gram-negative bacteria that are non-spore-forming and non-motile. It can ferment the lactose at a temperature between 35-37 degrees. Being a part of the intestinal tract, the bacteria are also found in human feces once it is excreted out of the body.
Coliform Bacteria in Water: What It Is and Why You Should Mind
 There are different types of bacteria (coliform is basically a family of different strains). The most common among them includes the total coliform. The most common strain is the fecal coliform and Escherichia coli. These are the strain found in the intestinal tract of humans and animals and is a sub-type of the fecal coliform.
These are the three most identified in the species because they indicate the quality of your drinking water.

Coliform Bacteria – What are Their Indications?

Water tests are done to observe and study if total coliform is found to be present. Afterward, it will again be tested to detect the presence of fecal coliform and Escherichia coli. 

Total coliform, being the type that is most present and common, is generally harmless. Fecal contamination is typically ruled out if this strain is found out in the water. But, this does not entail that water is still safe for consumption since bacteria still have ways of entering the body. Identifying the source and sanitation is needed for this kind of case.

In any case, total coliform isn't harmful. Most types of coliform do not affect human wellbeing. Rather, total coliform is a warning sign that your water supply is in danger of contamination from other illness-causing pathogens.

If fecal coliform is found out to be present in the water, this becomes a serious case. From the name itself, these types of coliform bacteria come from the feces of warm-blooded creatures, including humans. Fecal coliforms can enter your water supply through a falling flat septic system or spillover water infected by animals or agriculture.

If your water contains fecal coliforms, you should change quickly to bottled water. Fecal coliforms don't show the presence of toxic pathogens. But are a sign of high risk.

E. coli is the most grounded marker of contamination from harmful waterborne illnesses. If your water contains E. coli, you should change quickly to bottled water.
 Deductively known as Escherichia coli, these types of coliform bacteria are normally harmless.
Less a bunch of toxic strains. Manifestations of the disease include cramping, sudden and serious diarrhea, fatigue, and fever. What's more, difficulties can include iron deficiency, urinary tract infections, respiratory disease, pneumonia, kidney failure, and death.

How Common Are Coliform Bacteria?

Coliform Bacteria in WaterWhat It Is and Why You Should Mind

Coliform bacteria stand out among the most well-known water contamination issues in private water systems all through the United States. A 2006 study of 450 private wells discovered coliform microorganisms in around 35 percent. And E. coli microorganisms in around 15 percent of private wells.
Coliform bacteria are considerably more typical in springs and shallow wells. Compared with deeper wells since bacteria are normally sifted through by soil and rock as surface water penetrates the ground. Deeper wells (more than 100 feet) can, in any case, be defiled by coliform bacteria if they are inappropriately developed.
By enabling surface water to stream along with the good packaging directly into the deep groundwater. Or if nearby land uses are causing contamination of deep groundwater.

How Does This Affect my Health?

Relatively, this poses greater health risks to the public. So, it is, again, important to identify the source and eradicate the bacteria. Once fecal contamination is identified, E. coli tests are run to identify if the specific sub-strain is detected.

Escherichia coli are the most common bacteria to receive media scrutiny. On the contrary, it is a pathogen that is already present in the body.

It only becomes causative agents or opportunistic for different conditions like diarrhea, respiratory, and urinary tract infections, and once this kind of coliform is found in large quantities. The body’s immune system is compromised.

Even though it can be considered harmless inside the body, it still brings great risks to one's health. Once it is released in the open and contaminates water systems through fecal content in drinking water, this becomes a threat. And other diseases like those mentioned above.

Drinking-Water Standards

Most bacteria in the coliform group don't cause disease. But the more prominent their number, the greater the probability that disease-causing microorganisms might be available. Since coliform bacteria often remain in the water longer than most disease-causing organisms, the lack of coliform bacteria prompts the presumption that the water supply is microbiologically safe to drink.
Hence, the drinking water standard requires that no coliform bacteria be available in drinking water. Fecal coliform and E. coli bacteria ought to likewise be absent from drinking water.

What About Pathogens Other Than E. coli?

Water wellbeing is greater than E. coli. Other conceivably destructive pathogens contain parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium. And more than 100 water-borne infections.
Giardia is a microscopic parasite that causes a diarrheal disease known as giardiasis. It's found in regions polluted with feces from contaminated humans or animals and generally transmitted through drinking water.
Cryptosporidium is another microscopic parasite that causes gastrointestinal ailments. It very well may be transmitted through unsanitary drinking water. It is a standout amongst the most well-known reasons for waterborne infection in America.
Besides, even though Giardia, Crypto, and infections are regularly found within sight of coliform, they can likewise be found without it.


Are You at Risk of Coliform Contamination?

State and federal governments require public water supplies to include safe levels of coliform bacteria. This is generally accomplished through water chlorination. In any case of E. coli contamination, your public water system is required to inform you.
The wellbeing of a private water supply is the sole duty of the good owner. So wells with a missing or faulty well top, poor sealing, flooding, or cracks can allow coliform bacteria to enter your water supply. Inaccurate water treatment can likewise make a situation for coliform development.
Coliform Bacteria in WaterWhat It Is and Why You Should Mind

Do a Survey at Your Home

Bacteria from sources like leaking septic tanks, barnyard run-off, or flood events can enter wells, which are open on the surface. Don't have water-tight casings or tops. Or don't have a seal of grout in the space (the space between the mass of the well and the outside of the good packaging).
 It is imperative to attempt to distinguish the source of the contamination. And take measures to shield your well from pollution. To begin your search for potential issues, start with close to home. Survey your well:
  • Are there neighboring livestock?
  • Are pesticides being used on adjacent rural yields or nurseries?
  • Do you use lawn fertilizers close to the well?
  • Is your well "downstream" from your septic system or your neighbor's?
  • Is your well very much situated near a street that is often salted or showered with de-icers amid winter months?
  • Do you or your neighbors dispose of family wastes or used engine oil in the terrace, even in little amounts?
 If any of these things apply, it might be ideal to have your water tested. And talk with your local health division or agricultural extension specialist to discover an approach to change a portion of the practices which can disturb your private well.

What First Step Should you Take?

In conclusion, coliforms are already present universally. But this does not mean that it is not something to be bugged about. This is not a minor thing to compromise and wait for the risks to come in to picture finally. 

This type of bacteria can create mild to severe cases of gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders. This ranges from watery stool and violent diarrhea to pneumonia.

There are many efficient ways on how to eradicate this bacteria in your drinking water. One of the methods could be boiling water for up to 7-10 minutes. Yes, it can potentially kill the bacteria, but it does not guarantee a 100% elimination scale.

    • Boiling

Boiling water for around one minute successfully eliminates bacteria. This strategy is much of the time used to sanitize water amid crises or while outdoors. Boiling is time and power demand. Nonetheless, and supplies a small amount of water. It's anything but a long haul or consistent choice for water supply disinfection.

    • Ozonation

Currently, ozonation has gotten more consideration as a strategy for treating water quality issues, including bacterial contamination. Like chlorine, ozone is a solid oxidant that eliminates bacteria. Yet, it is a considerably more unpredictable gas that must be produced nearby using electricity. When the ozone is created, it is infused into the water, where it kills the bacteria. Ozonation units are commonly not prescribed for disinfection. Since they are considerably more expensive than chlorination or UV light systems, they might be valuable where numerous water quality issues must be dealt with — for example, disinfection in mixture with iron and manganese removal.

    • Iodination

Iodine has been used before, like chlorine, to sanitize water regularly. Iodination is never again considered a lasting disinfection alternative because of wellbeing concerns and identified with long-term risk to low levels of iodine remaining in the water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently prescribes iodination just for short-term or emergency disinfection. Iodine tablets are a well-known option among campers and hikers for water disinfection.


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