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Get Informed | E. Coli

What is E. Coli?

Escherichia coli (pronounced esker reekia) or E. coli is part of the total coliform group of bacteria which is a gram-negative, rod-shaped facultative anaerobic coliform bacteria. It is within the genus Escherichia and family Enterobacteriaceae. This bacteria tends to inhabit the gastrointestinal system of warm-blooded animals in a symbiotic relationship where the bacteria aid in making available vitamin K to the host organism. There are a number of subspecies of Escherichia coli, but only a few are pathogenic or disease causing.

"Until recently, the genus Escherichia was composed of five species, including the type species E. coli and four less frequently encountered members: E. blattae (cockroach), E. hermannii (human-stool), E. vulneris (respiratory, stool, urinary, genitals), and E. fergusonii (blood). Recently, Huys and others described a sixth species, E. albertii (foodborne), associated with diarrhea in children (Source)."

A number of the species of Escherichia are pathogenic and they are commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms, but can reside in other areas of the body. Most E. coli strains are harmless and associated with short periods of diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, but some strains like E. coli O157:H7 can be associated with severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

How Does E. Coli Become a problem?

You can be exposed to E. coli bacteria through a number of routes including foodborne or waterborne. For the foodborne route, this may be eating raw meat that has been undercooked or raw vegetables that have not been properly washed and rinsed that were exposed to bacterial contamination. Normally, healthy adults can manage exposure to a disease-causing form of E. coli, but seniors, children, and immunocompromised individuals with a weak immune system are at greater health risk of diseases promoted by E. Coli including kidney failure.

What are the Standards for E. Coli?

The EPA has set a drinking water standard of absent, zero, or < 1 colony-forming unit per 100 ml.

What are the Health Risks for E. Coli?

Normally, healthy adults can manage exposure to a disease causing form of E. coli, but seniors, children, and immunocompromised individuals with a weak immune system have a greater health risk including kidney failure.

Get Tested | E. Coli

Testing for total coliform and E. coli is normally routinely available, but you can not look at your water and KNOW there is a bacterial problem with total coliform or E. coli. If your water has a sewage-like smell, very high levels of foaming agents, metallic sheen, or is slimy, you likely have a bacterial problem, but there is no way of confirming this without doing a screening or laboratory test.

Level 1 | Observational Self-Testing

Level 1 Testing is done with simple observations that an individual can make with their own senses such as sight, smell, and taste. These observations can be readily apparent or can be observed as they change over time. In addition, accessible related information about the home can also be used to narrow down the cause of your water issues.

Observations for E. Coli

You may suspect that your problem with your water is caused by E. coli, if you notice one or more of these warning signs:

  • The water has an odor that is not chemical in nature, but appears earthy, musty, sulfur-like, sewage-like, or generally unpleasant.
  • When the water sets, the surface of the water has a metallic sheen that when you break it appears to stay apart and has angular edges.
  • The water contains a high level of salts, such as chloride, potassium, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, quats (quaternary ammonium) or foaming agents.
  • You are located in an area that has a malfunctioning septic system, agricultural areas using manure and biosolids, or your water becomes dirty or discolored when it rains or there is a significant snow melt.
Level 1 | Self-Test Web App
To do a quick and easy self diagnosis of your water, click the button below.
Launch

Level 2 | Do-It-Yourself Testing

Level 2 Testing is Do-It-Yourself testing that can be done in your own home using a Testing Kit. After you’ve done Level 1 Testing, Level 2 Testing can confirm if your observations are correct. If your test results reveal the presence of a contaminant that is cause for concern, you can either proceed to determine the best treatment (see below) or continue to Level 3 Testing.

Notes on Level 2 Testing for Total Coliform E.Coli

There are a number of low-cost Do-It-Yourself (DIY) water screening tests that you can use to check to see if your water is Present or Absent for Total Coliform and E. Coli. Here are a few recommendations for City Water and Well Water users. If you are in the process of purchasing a home with a private water system, testing for total coliform and E. coli is part of most real estate transfers. We strongly recommend using certified testing (Level 4) for all real estate transactions and we would suggest an enumeration method (determines the quantity of) over a presence/absence method.

Recommended Level 2 Tests
Tap ScoreTotal Microbiological Test

<div class="product-note in-L6-dissolved-gasses">Note: For Carbon Dioxide, Sewage Odors</div>

View
Crystal QuestThunder 4000M Reverse Osmosis System with UV

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View
AmazonUkoke RO75GP 6 Stages Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System, NSF/ANSI 58 & IAPMO Platinum Seal Certified

<div class="product-note in-L6-gross-alpha">Note: If the alpha concentration is < 5 pCi/L and Radium 226+ Radium 228 is < 5 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-beta-particles">Note: If the betadosage equivalent is < 4 millirems/year and Radium 226+ Radium 228 is < 5 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-radium-226-and-radium-228">Note: If combined radium concentration is < 5 pCi/L and alpha, beta, uranium, and radon are low - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Final Barrier After Treatment Implemented</div>

View
Recommended Products
Tap ScoreL3-TASC-T-02 | Total Microbiological Test

<div class="product-note in-L6-dissolved-gasses">Note: For Carbon Dioxide, Sewage Odors</div>

View
Crystal QuestLT-CRYS-T-01 | Thunder 4000M Reverse Osmosis System with UV

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View
AmazonLT-AMAZ-U-01 | Ukoke RO75GP 6 Stages Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System, NSF/ANSI 58 & IAPMO Platinum Seal Certified

<div class="product-note in-L6-gross-alpha">Note: If the alpha concentration is < 5 pCi/L and Radium 226+ Radium 228 is < 5 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-beta-particles">Note: If the betadosage equivalent is < 4 millirems/year and Radium 226+ Radium 228 is < 5 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-radium-226-and-radium-228">Note: If combined radium concentration is < 5 pCi/L and alpha, beta, uranium, and radon are low - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Final Barrier After Treatment Implemented</div>

View

Level 3 | Informational Testing

Level 3 Testing is done through an accredited Water Testing Laboratory. With Level 3 Testing, you can order a testing kit that is used to prepare your sample and submit it to the lab. By utilizing a lab, you have the assurance that a certified water expert had analyzed your water sample. If your test results reveal the presence of a contaminant that is cause for concern, you can either proceed to determine the best treatment options (see below) or continue to Level 4 Testing - Certified Testing.

Notes on Level 3 Testing for E.Coli

This testing will require an unbiased “third party” to collect the necessary water quality samples. In many cases the observations and diagnostics conducted in Level 1, screening testing in Level 2 and Level 3 will be an asset and aid in determining the number, type, and location of this “certified” testing. In many cases, Level 4 Testing is associated with a regulated activity, legal action, or real-estate transfer. If you identified a bacterial problem, we suggest certified testing to document the actual number of colony forming units, this is called an enumeration method. Typically, this is done using a local certified laboratory, because the holding time and sampling requirements have a very short holding time. When you do this testing, we strongly recommend testing for total coliform, E. coli, standard plate count, and other indicators that may be associated with the actual source such as human, agricultural, or animal. If you need assistance, please feel free to contact our team.

Recommended Level 3 Tests
Tap ScoreTotal Microbiological Test

<div class="product-note in-L6-dissolved-gasses">Note: For Carbon Dioxide, Sewage Odors</div>

View
Crystal QuestThunder 4000M Reverse Osmosis System with UV

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View
AmazonUkoke RO75GP 6 Stages Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System, NSF/ANSI 58 & IAPMO Platinum Seal Certified

<div class="product-note in-L6-gross-alpha">Note: If the alpha concentration is < 5 pCi/L and Radium 226+ Radium 228 is < 5 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-beta-particles">Note: If the betadosage equivalent is < 4 millirems/year and Radium 226+ Radium 228 is < 5 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-radium-226-and-radium-228">Note: If combined radium concentration is < 5 pCi/L and alpha, beta, uranium, and radon are low - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Final Barrier After Treatment Implemented</div>

View

Level 4 | Certified Testing

A Level 4 Certified Test Test uses chain-of-custody with a water professional coming to your home to prepare the water sample and then works with an accredited laboratory in order to certify your test results. This type of testing not only gives you the highest level of assurance in the accuracy of your test results, but can also be used as a document in legal cases. For Baseline Testing, we recommend that you use Certified Testing.

Notes on Level 4 Testing for E.Coli

If you identified a bacterial problem, we suggest certified testing to document the actual number of colony-forming units. Typically this is done using a local certified laboratory, because the holding time and sampling requirements have a very short holding time.

Get Treatment | E. Coli

For systems that have an E. coli problem, the first step would be to attempt to identify the source of the problem and mitigate or remediate it. In the long-run, a system with such a problem will most likely require some form of disinfection that may include: chlorination, ozonation, peroxide treatment or UV disinfection using a Class A UV irradiation system. The effectiveness of any disinfection system can be limited by what contaminants and how much of them are in the untreated water. The water can also react with the disinfection system to create by-products that may have a health concern. Therefor, we recommend comprehensive water quality testing of both the treated and untreated water as part of installing a disinfection system.

Short Term Treatment

In the short term, the recommendations may include boiling and filtering the water prior to consumption or using an alternative water source for drinking, cooking, and bathing. If you are not sure if other contaminants are present that can be concentrated by boiling the water, then an alternative water source would be the only safe-short term option.

Recommended Short-Term Treatments

<div class="product-note in-L6-dissolved-gasses">Note: For Carbon Dioxide, Sewage Odors</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-gross-alpha">Note: If the alpha concentration is < 5 pCi/L and Radium 226+ Radium 228 is < 5 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-beta-particles">Note: If the betadosage equivalent is < 4 millirems/year and Radium 226+ Radium 228 is < 5 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-radium-226-and-radium-228">Note: If combined radium concentration is < 5 pCi/L and alpha, beta, uranium, and radon are low - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Final Barrier After Treatment Implemented</div>

View
Contact a KnowYourH2O Recommended Professional

E. coli positive or not up for A DIY?  We can recommend a Local KnowYourH20 Team Professional Contact Us.

Long Term Treatment

For “city water” users, the long-term solution will need to be implemented by your water company or authority. Typically, these systems are regulated by the state and federal agencies, and it is likely these agencies will require the implementation of a 4-log disinfection system and modification to the distribution system for the community. For “well water” users, the solution may be a modification or improvement of the source and/or the installation of a disinfection system that may include UV disinfection (Class A), chlorination, or some other form of disinfection.Treatment solutions can include chlorination, ozonation, and UV irradiation and other practices like peroxide treatment that is less commonly used.

In developing short-term and long-term solutions, we strongly recommend working with a “certified” professional. If you need assistance with finding or identifying certified professionals in your area, please request assistance through our team.

Recommended Long-Term Treatments

<div class="product-note in-L6-dissolved-gasses">Note: For Carbon Dioxide, Sewage Odors</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-gross-alpha">Note: If the alpha concentration is < 5 pCi/L and Radium 226+ Radium 228 is < 5 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-beta-particles">Note: If the betadosage equivalent is < 4 millirems/year and Radium 226+ Radium 228 is < 5 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-radium-226-and-radium-228">Note: If combined radium concentration is < 5 pCi/L and alpha, beta, uranium, and radon are low - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Final Barrier After Treatment Implemented</div>

View
Contact a KnowYourH2O Recommended Professional

You have a series of issues and are not up for a DIY? We can recommend a Local KnowYourH20 Team Professional Contact Us.

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