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Common Bacteria and Viruses Found in Water

Bacteria including e-coli, coliforms and legionella are single celled microorganisms commonly found in well water, lake water and cistern water.

E.coli is the result of animal and/or human fecal water contamination and can lead to serious health problems when ingested or inhaled in the shower. Symptoms of exposure to e.coli include mild to severe cramps, diarrhea, headaches, nausea and vomiting.

Fecal Coliform is a bacteria present in water that has been contaminated with human and/or fecal waste. Ingesting or inhaling water contaminated with fecal coliform will lead to digestive distress in the form of nausea, diarrhea, cramps and headaches.

Coliform is a microbe naturally present in the environment and can indicate human or animal wastes in the water.

Legionella is another common waterborne bacteria that thrives in warm water and is naturally occurring in the environment. Inhaling legionella while in a shower or bath can lead to Legionnaires disease, a type of pneumonia.

Enterococci (bacteria) or coliphage (virus) are microbes that if present can indicate the water is contaminated with human and/or fecal waste.

Viruses are the smallest form of microorganism and may also be present in well water, cistern water and lake water. Enteroviruses make their way into our water supply by the fecal waste of infected animals and/or humans. The include polioviruses, echoviruses and coxsackieviruses. The human health risk to ingesting water contaminated with viruses can range from gastroenteritis to meningitis.

It is important to know that contaminated water can be ingested while bathing, showering, brushing teeth, drinking water, or by eating food that has been exposed to infected water. While many people who have cisterns believe that the water delivered to their cisterns is bacteria free due to the chlorine it should be noted that chlorine can lose its effectiveness within 24 hours of entering a cistern leaving the potential for bacteria contamination high especially if rainwater is harvested. Regular bacteria testing of well water, lake water and cistern water is crucial to protect your health and the safety of your drinking water. Ground water and lake water composition will  change over time and while your water may test safe one time, it does not guarantee it will remain bacteria and virus free.


Ultra Violet Sterilization provides rapid, effective inactivation of microorganisms. When BACTERIA and VIRUSES  are exposed to the germicidal wavelengths of Ultra Violet light, they are rendered incapable of reproducing and infecting. U/V is a proven, chemical free method of ensuring the health and safety of you and your family.

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