If you think that having city (municipal) water as your source of drinking water will save you from ever having to worry about coliform bacteria — which comes from fecal matter, by the way — think again. Even homes and offices on municipal water systems can have problems with potentially harmful bacteria showing up in their water on rare occasions.

Coliform Bacteria in Water Test Kit
Coliform Bacteria
in Water Test Kit

While very true that numerous safeguards exist within the infrastructures of water treatment and water distribution facilities, accidents can occur and potentially harmful contaminants could find a way into the water supply after it leaves the water department’s capable hands.

Therefore, it does make sense for people on city water supplies to check every once in a while for the presence of bacteria in their water. Again, not because the city made a mistake, but rather because a small crack anywhere in the piping that carries the water from the water treatment facility to their homes could possibly serve as an entry point for dangerous strands of bacteria.

October 22, 2010 — The town of Amherst has issued a “Water Quality Advisory” after three of 22 water samples tested positive for total coliform and E. Coli bacteria today. The town’s water system also supplies the UMass campus.

The samples were taken as a part of routine testing and public health officials are conducting further tests to determine whether a “Boil Water Order” is needed.

Results of the tests and the officials’ decision will become available Saturday afternoon, said a campus alert.

The university has a campus-wide precautionary plan in place if a “Boil Water Order” is called for. The plan will supply members of the campus with bottled water and hand sanitizer as well as instructions on how to minimize any health risks.

More information about the water testing can be found at www.amherstma.gov. ( source )

Occasional reports of bacteria in water remind us that even with all of our great technology, our water public water supplies can sometimes fall victim to contamination. Periodic testing for simple water quality parameters using test kits from companies like WaterSafe and SenSafe put the power of contamination detection in the hands of the people who need it most… the general public.

As always, though, if you already have reason to suspect that you may have unwanted contaminants in your drinking water, defer to the expertise of certified water testing laboratories what have the advanced equipment and skills required to accurately assess the quality and safety of your water supply.

Filters Fast: Doulton Countertop Ceramic Filter
Doulton Countertop Ceramic Filter

Filters Fast: Doulton Undersink Ceramic Filter
Doulton Undersink Ceramic Filter

Filter system for bacteria?

If the addition of a disinfectant stream such as ozone or chlorine does not seem feasible, then one may want to consider using a ceramic filter system like the ones on the left made by Doulton which install quickly and easily in pretty much any home.

Regardless of whether you choose to install a counter top model which will require no fooling around with plumbing or you opt for an undersink model which will install cleanly and neatly beneath your sink, the Doulton line of ceramic water filter systems offer excellent protection against potentially dangerous and/or unpleasant drinking water contaminants such as bacteria (i.e. E.Coli, Cholera, Shigella, Salmonella, etc.) cysts (i.e. Giardia, Cryptosporidium, etc.), chlorine, lead, and undissolved particles (i.e. dirt, sand, sediment, etc.).

When used with the UltraCarb ceramic filter candle, these units test and certify to NSF 42, NSF 53 and World Health Organization Standards.

Part number for the UltraCarb ceramic filter element: W9123053

Looking for a system with a bit more…. bacteria killing power? Or perhaps a water filter system that certifies to the NSF 55 Standard Ultraviolet Microbiological Water Treatment Systems? Take a look at the UV Pure Hallett & Upstream systems listed on the IsoPure Water web site.