Total Coliform Bacteria

Coliforms are bacteria that are always present in the digestive tracts of animals, including humans, and are found in their wastes.  This the most basic test for bacterial contamination and gives a general indication of the sanitary condition of a water supply.

Health Effects?
  • Most types of coliform bacteria are harmless to humans, but some can cause mild illnesses and a few can lead to serious waterborne diseases
  • By itself, a high coliform count is not harmful to humans, but it is a useful indicator that sewage or manure may be contaminating the water and bringing disease-causing bacteria
How Did It Get There?
  • Coliform bacteria can be introduced to a well or spring from a one-time or temporary contamination event like an especially heavy rainstorm or installation of a new submersible pump
  • Poorly sealed well that allows insects, small mammals or surface water to enter
If you have coliform bacteria, the standard treatment is shock chlorination.  See here for more information.