Coliform Bacteria Present in Our Drinking Water

Coliform Bacteria Present in Our Drinking Water

Several particles are visibly seen in the water, but there are numerous different kinds of bacteria or parasites that are not seen with our naked eyes.

There are already deaths and diseases reported every year because of these unseen organisms freely floating in the water that we drink; though these cases may vary from different countries, it does not mean that we are safe. Contaminants are everywhere, and if untreated, they may cause illness.


Let us not put our lives to the test living it to authority, and believe that the water is supplied to us is indeed crystal clear and free from harmful radicals; it may be safe for a few consumptions but will never be that safe for a lifetime.

Some situations may contribute to contaminating our water, such as floods and other calamities; sometimes, because of our poor knowledge about how clean the water should be and our carelessness to our surroundings. Other factors that may also cause contaminations are factory leaks and garbage disposal to bodies of water.


As the population grows in numbers, so is our health that is put at risk; pollution is always connected with population, and sad to say though some of us are aware of these pathogens such as coliform bacteria, we still aren’t sure of would happen if this bacteria would be on our waters and be taken into our bodies.


To better understand what coliform bacteria is, how it would affect us, what are kinds of tests to identify the level of risk and how to prevent it; take to understand the answers to these questions and educate yourself of how harmful this bacteria is.


What Exactly is Coliform Bacteria

Coliform bacteria are commonly seen on the digestive tract and feces of animals and humans; these microorganisms are only seen with a microscope. Also found in water, plants, and other soil materials, coliform bacteria are used as sanitary indicators. This type of bacteria is commonly seen in contaminated areas or mass of water hazardous for human consumption.


This bacteria is commonly described as gram-negative rod-shaped and non-spore-forming bacteria. Coliforms are either motile or non-motile. Coliform bacteria are usually found in a watery environment and large in the feces of warm-blooded animals. It can also ferment lactose.


As a Contaminant Indicator

As stated, coliform bacteria are commonly seen in the feces of animals and humans; thus, it is an indication of fecal contamination and pollution. Water pollution is one of the most tackled problems nowadays; as the mortality rate increases in poor places in sanitation, coliform bacteria are much likely to blame.

Coliform Bacteria Present in Our Drinking Water

Disease-causing organisms or pathogens are caused by water pollution; it may either be a virus, bacteria or protozoa; these pathogens are clinically identified as responsible for all the water-borne diseases we encounter.


An indicator of Coliform Bacteria in Drinking Water

There is three water coliform bacteria indicator that is commonly used; each of these three has a different risk level depending on the detected contamination, and they are as follows:


Total Coliform Bacteria

Total coliform bacteria are commonly seen in the environment; if presence is detected in drinking water, it indicates contamination from sewage or animal wastes.

These may be due to sewage problems or leaks and animal wastes that are not properly disposed of. These tests are performed with a “colorimetric” test, a specific color that indicates a total coliform bacteria presence.


Fecal Coliform Bacteria

The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in drinking water indicates contamination caused by recent fecal contamination. This contamination is considered alarming, demonstrating the presence of disease-causing organisms known as pathogens.



Though most E.coli strains are harmless and commonly seen in humans' and animals' intestines, some of its strains are known to cause illness or may cause food poisoning to older people or children. If E.coli is detected in drinking water, it signifies fecal contamination is present, thus portraying a greater risk of pathogenic diseases.


Is Coliform Bacteria Harmful?

Some coliform bacteria are not harmful, but there are strains of E.coli reported to cause diseases. Current reports of E.coli strain 0157:H7 are responsible for a recent outbreak in chickens, cattle, pigs, and sheep. But there are rare cases of 0157:H7 contamination in drinking water.


By just physically testing the water (appearance, clarity, and smell), you will not be able to identify contamination, the test done in this particular problem will specifically identify the presence of contamination; thus, the experience of this kind is subjected to frequent testing to monitor the presence or level of contamination further.


Common Defects That Allows Water Contamination

Coliform Bacteria Present in Our Drinking Water

Our water well should be properly sealed to prevent contamination. An open cap or defective cap may allow contamination of drinking water. Other causes of water contamination may also come from seepage through the good casing; holes and other defects such as cracks on our wells may also lead to water contamination; It allows water that is not filtered by the soil to penetrate and enter the well. 

Well, heads located below the ground are also prone to contamination, especially in flooded areas; this defect allows the contaminant to get in the well and contaminate the water freely. Not properly sealed casing from old wells are also prone to water contamination.


Positive - What does it mean?

If you have undergone a water analysis of your drinking water at home and show a positive result, it means that your water supply is fecally contaminated or has contamination.


Contaminated water should be treated or subject to testing and should be labeled as dangerous if taken. Coliform bacteria are considered hazardous and known to cause illness and death if untreated; to avoid further health problems, you should consider changing the water supply or switch to a filter system that would eliminate all these unwanted bacteria.

These pathogens should be detected as early as possible to avoid further health problems.

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