Bacteria are tiny microscopic naturally occurring living organisms, which can be non-pathogenic (non-disease causing) to pathogenic (disease-causing). Bacteria are generally categorized in these three general classifications.
In water, coliform bacteria have no taste, smell or colour. They can only be detected through a laboratory test.
Total coliform is used to indicate the possible presence of pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria. Total Coliforms are naturally occurring bacteria usually indicating surface water or organic contamination. If total coliform is detected then treatment/disinfection of water supply is recommended. The max.acceptableTotal Coliform count is 5 CFU (Ministry of Health).
E.coli bacteria originate in the intestinal walls or fecal matter from animals and humans. E.coli bacteria are a presence of pathogenic bacteria and usually indicate a problem with septic system contamination. The max. An acceptable E.coli count is 0 CFU (Ministry of Health). If a presence of E.coli bacteria is detected in your water supply immediate well disinfection should take place and water retested.
GBP: General Background Population
GBP is aerobic bacteria and is not considered harmful in concentrations less than 200 CFU/100 mL as counted from the total coliform test. GBP bacteria usually indicate problems with structural faults in wells (surface contamination) and should be disinfected and retested.
Bacteria in drinking water indicates the water has been contaminated with materials that may contain disease-causing
The most common symptoms of waterborne illness include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Infants, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems may suffer more severe effects.
You should not assume that your water is safe to drink just because it has not made you sick in the past. If bacteria are present in your water there is a very high risk that it could make you ill.
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