Many microorganisms and forms of bacteria, including coliform bacteria, occur naturally in our environment and not all forms of bacteria or types of microorganisms cause harm to humans. As a general rule, the EPA, in its Primary Drinking Water Standards, has indicated that harmful types of bacteria and microorganisms such as Legionella, Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium, E. Coli, fecal coliform, and enteric viruses come primarily from human and animal waste.
Simple Testing Methods for Bacteria?
Yes. Homeowners wishing to test their water for the potential presence of harmful bacteria can use a number of kits such as the 48 Hour Presence/Absence Bacteria Check test kit from Industrial Test Systems, makers of the WaterWorks and SenSafe lines of water quality testing products.
Bacteria Check will not tell you what KIND of coliform bacteria it detected, but it will tell you that the sample water contained at least ONE coliform unit of bacteria in the 100 mL sample and that you may want to get the water professionally evaluated.
Laboratory Testing for Bacteria in Drinking Water?
Should one the aforementioned bacteria test its yield ‘positive results’, you will definitely want to have your water checked for bacterial contamination by a certified drinking water testing laboratory. Your local board of health or state health department should have the ability to provide you with a list of qualified water labs in your area.
If no labs exist nearby, you can also consult with companies such as National Testing Laboratories that offer a decent array of mail-in water testing packages.