Microbes in water throughout North Georgia are the most important thing to test for in drinking water to ensure the water is safe to consume. A microbiological analysis tests the water for coliform bacteria. Coliforms are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment and are not normally the cause of any serious illness.
They are used as an indicator bacteria since they are easy to culture. Their presence is used to indicate that other pathogenic organisms of fecal origin may be present. If a water sample is positive for coliform bacteria further analyses are run to see if there is any fecal or E.coli bacteria in the water. Fecal coliforms and E.coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risks for infants, young children, and people with severely-compromised immune systems.
Wells and other private water supplies should be tested for microbes in water throughout North Georgia at least once a year and after any major repair. If you receive a positive result for coliform but negative fecal/E. coli there is no need to be alarmed. However, if the water tests positive for both coliform and fecal/E.coli the water should be boiled or bottled water should be used until the problem can be corrected.
In either case the water supply should be shock treated with a chlorine sanitizing kit, which we have in stock, for 24 to 48 hours and inspected for a possible source of contamination. The water system should then be flushed until all the chlorine is gone and a repeat sample should be analyzed to ensure all bacteria was killed. If this sample was negative for all bacteria the water can be considered microbiologically safe.
If not, an in-depth inspection and water analysis may be needed to determine what needs to be done to properly treat the contamination problem. If your initial sample was positive, American Water Services recommends that an additional sample be taken 4 to 8 weeks after receiving the negative repeat to confirm that the bacteria is not being reintroduced to the water.