Everything You Need to Know About Coliform in Your Well Water

Many states have established standards for the construction of private wells and for testing of new wells. However,  following this initial testing there are no regulations to ensure the water sources remain safe. Therefore, private well owners must take it upon themselves to test their water for harmful bacteria. In order to protect your water supply, it’s key to learn about potential threats that could put your health at risk. Today, we’ll take a look at coliform, a type of bacteria that may be cause for concern.

What is Coliform, and Is It Dangerous?

Coliform is a naturally occurring bacteria that is found in plants, soil, and the intestines of animals and humans. Coliform bacteria itself is not particularly dangerous or harmful. However, it tends to indicate that other pathogens could be lurking in your water supply. When total coliform (TC) bacteria and E. coli are identified together, there is a high chance that fecal matter is also nearby. When this is the case, hazardous organisms may be a threat to your safety.  

How Does Coliform Get into Well Water?

If you live near any agricultural areas, coliform bacteria can easily leech into your supply. Rain, irrigation and melting snow transport these bacteria to unwanted areas. Unfortunately, feedlot runoff or animal waste of any kind can pose a major risk. Coliform bacteria in your water can also be caused by:

  • Septic systems that have not been maintained properly
  • Damaged or unsealed well caps and casing, or any part of your well that is above-ground
  • An exposed or deserted well nearby 
  • A well that was not constructed correctly or was not disinfected prior to use
  • Any piping used for drinking water that is linked to piping for non-drinking uses (outdoor gardening, for example)

Testing Your Water for Coliform   

To protect yourself from diseases and pathogens, we recommend testing for coliform annually. However, more frequent testing may be necessary if you live in a high-risk area. If you notice any of the following, it’s crucial that you contact a local water expert immediately:

  • A sudden change in water quality (smell, taste, color, overall appearance)
  • Flooding near your wellhead
  • Family members with unexplained symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and fever
  • Your septic system is damaged or in need of maintenance

If your well is within 50 feet of a septic system or farm, we also recommend more frequent testing and increased attentiveness. While kits are readily available for testing, they aren’t always accurate. Only a certified specialist can be trusted to perform a thorough water test. For well owners, it’s essential to partner with an expert water company. At Hague Quality Water, we’ve been assisting customers with water treatment solutions since 1993. Furthermore, all of our dedicated experts are Water Quality Association (WQA) certified. If any contaminants, viruses or harmful bacteria are found, we’ll work with you to eliminate them. Then, you can get back to enjoying the pristine water you love. 

Water Treatment Solutions to Coliform Bacteria  

If you’ve recently discovered coliform bacteria in your well water, it’s important to act quickly. Until you can receive proper treatment, consider purchasing bottled water in the meantime. You can also bring your water to a full boil for 1 minute to kill coliform and E. coli. This supply can then be stored for future use.

While coliform is a concern, there’s no need to panic. This problem is resolvable as long as the right treatment solutions are applied. Some water filtration options we offer at Hague Quality Water include:

  • UV Disinfection Ultra Violet disinfection systems safeguard your water against harmful bacteria and sediment. The UV light sterilizes bacteria to assure your drinking water is safe.  
  • Well Chlorination/Disinfection Chlorinating the well may resolve a bacteria problem, but is not guaranteed and may not be effective long term.  The process also takes several days, during which you will not be able to drink or bathe with the water.

Do you want to know more about our water treatment solutions? Give us a call and speak to one of our representatives today. We can provide you with guidance, testing, treatment, and future tips for protecting your water. 

Eliminate Coliform in Your Well Water by Partnering with Hague Quality Water of Maryland

If you are concerned about the overall quality and contents of your water, or you’d like to learn more about coliform, we are here to help with your water improvement projects. We can answer all your questions, and we offer a convenient mail-in water testing kit for conducting a complete water test at home. (Due to time sensitive nature of testing, we do not recommend the mai-in test kit for bacteria testing. We can setup an in person test sample if desired).  For additional assistance, call Hague Quality Water of Maryland at (410) 757-2992.

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