Coliform Bacteria

Coliform Bacteria Treatment


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Sources of Coliform Bacteria

Health Risks

Safety Guidelines

Testing for Coliform Bacteria

Treatment Solutions




Treatment Solutions

Before taking any treatment action, the original source of contamination should be determined, so changes can be made to prevent the contamination in the future.

Water containing any form of total Coliform should not be used for drinking or cooking unless boiled for 5 minutes. Water can be boiled either in a pot or kettle, in a microwave or in an electric kettle without an automatic turn-off.

Bacteria and other harmful to human organisms may be eliminated by disinfection (chlorine, ozone, or ultraviolet light treatment) or distillation. In some cases filtration may be also required. Note, that pitcher-type carbon filters will not disinfect water.

Parasites such as: Cryptosporidium or Giardia are best destroyed by UV treatment, but water flow must be limited and the unit must be properly maintained.

Treatment systems should carry the National Sanitation Foundation certification for microbiological removal (NSF Standard 55 Class A for disinfection units, NSF Standard 62 for distillation units).

After any form of the treatment, water should be re-tested.

The contaminated well can be disinfected by a process known as a shock chlorination. It is the most recommended treatment for in home water systems, such as: wells, springs and cisterns.
Before the measure is implemented, make sure everyone in your household is informed not to use the water. Alternative source of drinking water should be secured. Special care should be taken to ensure that children and elder people do not consume the tap water during the treatment process.

Regular household chlorine bleach that can be found in most supermarkets is suitable for this purpose. Do not use scented chlorine products.

First, clean the wellhouse from all debris and wash the internal surface with a strong chlorine solution. Then, treat the well water with chlorine solution – use 1/2 gallon bleach per 5 gallons of well water for this purpose. Next, hook a clean garden hose to the outdoor faucet nearest the well and place the end of the hose inside the well. Then turn the water on and let it run until you smell chlorine coming out of the hose.

Allow solution to circulate until the strong chlorine odor is detected from all taps in the house. Flush toilets then allow water to stand in the system preferably for 12-24, and at least for 8 hours.

Get rid of remaining chlorine by turning on the outside faucets letting them run until chlorine smell disappear. Do not run chlorinated water into your septic system or into a lake, pond or stream.

After all traces of shock chlorination treatment are gone, test your water again.
If bacteria is still present after repeating the treatment, the groundwater itself may be a cause of the problem. In this case you can still use this water for your household by installing a continuous disinfection system as: chlorinator, ultraviolet light or ozone system.