E.coli & Coliform Testing
What are E. coli and Coliforms?
Total Coliform is a collection of many different types of bacteria that are found in the natural environment and all warm-blooded animals. These bacteria are generally harmless and not likely to cause illness in the natural environment, however, their presence in drinking water or from is an indication that disease-causing pathogens are present in a water system.
Why should I test my water?
Fecal coliform is a type of coliform that exists in feces and the intestines of humans and animals. Their presence in a drinking water system is indicative of fecal contamination and an issue with existing equipment or treatment systems and even the water source or distribution network. Many high-profile cases reported refer to an E. coli outbreak as simply “E. coli” and fail to recognize that these situations are mostly attributed to a specific strain of the bacteria. Generally, a water test confirming the presence of E. coli does not mean this more harmful strain is present, only that fecal contamination has occurred. Although many strains of E. coli are considered harmless, some produce a toxin that can cause serious infection and illness. Regardless of which strain is detected, confirmation of E. coli in a water system may pose an immediate health risk to anyone who consumes the water and if found in a large water system, like a city water supply, a Health Advisory will likely be issued. Most mass-produced water filters available today do not remove these types of bacteria.
What should I do if my water is contaminated?
The first thing to do is alert all who may be affected that the water is not safe to drink or use. Some steps can be made, such as boiling all water before use, or using store-bought water until the source of contamination is identified and the situation corrected. Additional testing is then recommended to confirm the results. Action will vary depending on the source of the water. A contaminated well should be inspected and all necessary parts treated and repaired or replaced. Disinfection is retesting once complete to confirm the situation has been corrected. A large source, such as a city water system will have to be inspected and tested until the issue has been identified and corrected.
How do I get rid of E. coli from my water?
If you are on well water, there are many treatment options. Chlorine, ultraviolet light, and ozone are all known to be effective in treating these pathogens. BuildSafe always recommends contacting a professional to come to inspect your well and equipment. If your home tests positive on city-supplied water, immediately contact your municipality so they can take precautions and proper steps to correct the issue and deliver warnings if needed.
Who is at risk for E. coli?
All age groups are at risk and can be infected with E.coli. The elderly, young children and those with compromised immune systems are at a much greater risk of being severely affected.
What are the symptoms of E. coli exposure?
Symptoms can vary greatly and can take days to appear. Some people experience mild or no symptoms but most common cases develop severe diarrhea and cramping, along with blood in the stool. A fever is not usually associated or may be minor. Symptoms usually appear around three days after exposure, but one to ten days is possible.
What happens if I get E. coli infection?
Most healthy people will recover without the aid of antibiotics or treatments in five to ten days. Complications are possible, like Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome which is a serious disease that can cause kidneys to fail and blood transfusions or dialysis may be required, along with lengthy hospital treatment. Infection is fatal in three to five percent of reported cases.
How can I prevent E. coli Infection?
Test for water contamination periodically if on well water or other non-treated sources
Boil any untreated or suspect water before use
Wash hands carefully and often
Wash all fruit and vegetables before eating
Don’t consume undercooked beef products or unpasteurized milk and dairy beverages
Ensure any infected person takes additional precautions when washing hands, especially after using the restroom
Handle all beef products safely, keeping at the proper temperature and avoiding cross-contamination
Can Buildsafe Environmental test my water for E. coli and Coliforms?
Yes, we can! If you are in Denver, or anywhere in Colorado, contact us today for information and to schedule your water test. Your and your family’s safety is important! Contact us by phone or email at 303-598-0601 or Contact@buildsafeenviro.com