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Testing Your Rural Water For Bacteria

Summer Means It’s Time for Heat, Sun, and Microbial (bacteria) Testing

(written by Trojan Technolgies) 

Water quality changes frequently and can be impacted by extreme weather events, seasons, land-use changes, or a failing septic system. Given that summer is filled with hot temperatures, sudden downpours, and new landscaping efforts, it’s the ideal time to test your well and cistern for microbial (bacteria)contamination.


According to a study published in Science of the Total Environment, private wells showed a higher concentration of bacteria from animal and human waste when air temperatures were above 90°F.


As the presence of total coliform bacteria is a strong indicator that a water source is already, or can easily become, contaminated with waterborne pathogens like giardia, cryptosporidium, salmonella, and E. coli, microbial testing should be as commonplace as testing for iron, hardness, and total dissolved solids.



Do bacteria counts increase in warmer air temperature or warmer water temperature?


A correlation between temperature and higher bacteria counts appears to exist. It’s known that water temperature fluctuates seasonally, with air and ground temperatures. What matters for water quality is water temperature: Lower temperatures are less conducive for bacterial reproduction, and higher temperatures (up to about 30°C) are ideal for bacteria proliferation. But temperature isn’t the only phenomena at play.


In springtime, warming air and ground temperatures melt snow, creating a means of “transport” for bacteria. Snowmelt takes bacteria from one place and can end up in groundwater.


During summer, increased agricultural and farming activity can also introduce bacteria into groundwater. Irrigation water seeping into the ground can be a transport mechanism. Excretion from farm animals, and subsequent groundwater contamination, can be higher as animals roam more freely.


Source: Siva Sarathy, senior scientist, core applications group, VIQUA


If you're concerned about the safety and quality of your well or cistern water contact us today to have your water tested. 

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