Ecoli or Coliform bacteria

Is your water giving you the runs?

Why it may be your water that’s making you run for the toilet…

Here’s the little poop maker (aka, the rotavirus) up close and personal…

When you find yourself with the thunder down under one of the last places you may think to look for the cause of the problem would be your water. Though, if you don’t have an answer for your troubled stomach, it’s a good place to look. There are many reasons people find themselves afflicted with “The Diarrhea” and sometimes that reason is your water. Here is one possible cause for the grumbling gastrointestinal discomfort that is, Diarrhea.

Rotavirus-And/or Ecoli or Coliform bacteria in Well Water

Cool name… crappy virus (pun painfully intended). And before we get started on Rotavirus, please keep in mind that you would treat ecoli and coliform the same exact way to get rid of it. Both usually come from human or animal waste. The rotavirus, as well as ecoli and coliform bacterium, is found ALL over the United States and across the world. Over 3 million cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis occur annually in the U.S. alone. One of it’s main symptoms, as you can guess, is diarrhea. Other symptoms include vomiting, fever and dehydration. Yes. Water causing dehydration is the definition of irony. The rotavirus comes from infected feces… gross, we know. So, what’s infected feces (poop for those with a childish sense of humor, yours truly included) doing in your drinking water? Good question. VERY good question.

Beware slick operators selling UV lights for Bacteria control

The question:

Can I use a UV light for my well water to treat for ecoli, coliform and other bacteria?

Yes, in some cases. But if you have high hardness levels, any measurable amount of iron, manganese or other solids in the water. Then UV lights are certainly NOT recommended for safely removing these harmful bacteria. This is do to something called “Shielding”.

What is “Shielding” in regard to UV lights (Ultra violet Lights)?

If a metal, such as high amounts of hardness or even moderate amounts of iron, is in your well water. A bacteria can crawl into a crevasse or imperfection in that metal and as it goes through the UV light it is “Shielded” from that light. This renders it useless. That means you may have a false sense of security thinking it makes your water healthy.

Then some slick operators will tell you that you can remove the iron or hardness with backwashing filters, and then use the UV light. This is also incorrect because the UV light would be AFTER the backwashing filter. That would allow the back washing well water filter to actually breed the bacteria in that filter. When it backwashes you are putting that water right back into your ground water system. And if the UV Light should fail without your knowledge, you would likely then have MASSIVE amounts of bacterium in your water that has be growing in your filter.

Is there feces in my well water?

Feces finds its way into drinking water more than you’d care to know and not all of it is broadcasting it’s presence by giving you diarrhea. If you have nitrates in your water, there’s a good chance you have feces in your water as well, more on that in later blogs. Feces can make its way into private wells through sewage overflow, polluted storm water runoff, sewage systems that aren’t working properly and animal farms (any farms upstream from you?).

Great, you’re thinking, there’s poop in my water.

Horse Poop
One glass of water, hold the poop please…

Not only that, it’s infected with the rotavirus, our resident diarrhea inducing nemesis. Not all cases of the rotavirus are caused from contaminated water, but some are and we can help with those. The rotavirus can be extremely dangerous for children and if suspect you may have water contaminated with the rotavirus, then you need to address that right away. We’d recommend treating it the same as if we were treating e-coli or coliform. This is fool proof and will give you the piece of mind knowing the virus has been taken care of. The first step would be to find out your flow rate. Once we have the flow rate we can give you a proper recommendation.

How do I find out what my well’s flow rate is?

You can find instructions for easily determining your well’s flow rate under item number 7 here:

Well water flow rate instructions.

For example, lets say your flow rate was 12 gallons per minute, our recommendation would be:

First inline: A chlorine injection system.  This pump would wire into your pressure switch on the pressure tank. When your well pump turns on, this feed system would turn on and inject a small solution of chlorine into a “tee” between the well pump and pressure tank. Next the water would go into retention tanks, this would give the proper contact time. This is where the flow rate comes into the equation. For every gallon per minute of flow, 20 minutes of retention is required. This would mean for every 6 gallons per minute of flow rate, a 120 gallon retention tank would be needed. The  example above with a 12 gallon per minute flow rate, the person would need two 120 gallon retention tanks.

Once the water’s been treated for the virus we’d recommend a Terminox ISM  which requires no maintenance and unlike carbon, does not work on absorption and will last for many years without any sort of filter replacement or maintenance.

If you think you or someone you know may have been infected with the rotavirus seek medical attention immediately.

-Water Filtration Wizard

Ecoli or Coliform bacteria

12 Comments on “Ecoli or Coliform bacteria

  1. I live in a private owned mobile home park. They are changing from cespool to connecting to the city water. Every year workers dig up our roads and put in new pipes and big drain pipes. This has been going on for two summers now . Hopefully next summer they will be done.
    My problem is if I drink water I get a terrible case of diarrhea and then days followings I have very mushy stools. I’m afraid I will get sick if I don’t drink water but the days I do go without water I don’t get diarrhea. I have just had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. Everything is normal except a small polyp .
    I wish I could find out what’s happening here. I can’t take this diarrhea and runny stools everyday any longer.
    I would just like to mention I take a 2 billion cultures probiotic every day. Plus v-E, cod liver oil, omaga 3, and so on, every day.
    Thank you for all the help and suggestions you can offer me. Elizabeth.

    • Firstly, you may mean to say that they are changing from a water well to city water, and from a cesspool or septic system to the local sewer supply. You do not drink water from a cesspool normally. If you are concerned about the water being contaminated, you may want to consider drinking bottled water until you find out why you are getting ill. We are not doctors, so we are not allowed to give health advice, particularly to someone taking various pills and supplements. You can also test the water for e-coli and coliform for under $50, or you might call your local county health department and ask them to test the water for you. Sometimes they will do that for free. If they are switching over to city water, the simplest thing to do may be to drink bottled water until the new city water line is in. Also, if the well water you are on has sulfur in it, the sulfur is often an indication that there are sulfates in the water. If there are sulfates in the water, and you have a fair amount of magnesium and other dissolved solids in the water, this can cause a diarrhea effect in many people. So don’t drink it unless you can test it and then solve the problem if you find one. If you drink bottled water and the problem stops, then you know it is the drinking water or the pipes delivering the water in all likelihood. Please don’t hesitate to give a friendly water tech a call at 800-684-0979 for a quick discussion of this or any other situation. And please don’t worry, they do not work on commission, and they are not allowed to ask you to buy anything or pressure you in any way. And please don’t forget to like us on Facebook.
      Take care.

    • Hi Elizabeth, did you ever figure out what was going on? I am currently in the same situation. Drinking my tap water gives me mushy stools but drinking bottled water is okay. I am at my ropes end. I have a colonoscopy on Monday but I suspect they won’t find anything either. Did you find any answers?

      • Jessica,
        If bottled water helps, you should simply add a 5 stage reverse osmosis system in your kitchen. That would cancel all your stress as this water will then be cleaner than most bottled water. You can never really test for everything that could be in your water. And if you did, it would be far more expensive than most Americans could afford. A reverse osmosis system for the kitchen would be very inexpensive and pretty easy to install. You can see it here:

          • Hi Kelly,

            We certainly did find this information interesting. Which also would indicate such carbon type filters would REALLY breed bacteria on non-chlorinated water supply types, such as a private residential well. We have thought for years that using any sort of carbon on non-chlorinated water supplies was poor judgement, though most of your in home type sales companies, and online companies, sell these products to unsuspecting customers every day. That is why we always recommend that you use self cleaning or “Backwashing” filter systems for whole house water treatment. And we recommend reverse osmosis purification for point of use in the kitchen. Reverse osmosis is not only great for removing sodium that water softeners leave behind, as well as most other unwanted contaminants. They also would stop working before they would let bacteria through the membrane. You just need to be sure to replace the filters in a timely fashion. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I have the same problem as Elizabeth. But I don’t take any medication or supplements. I have switched to bottled water and don’t surfer through diarrhea. Can I boil the water to make it safe to drink?

    • Hi Travis,

      It’s hard to say, as I do not know what type water supply you have. If, like Elizabeth, you are on a city water supply for the first time, after having been on a private water well, you could be reacting to the water. It could simply be that you are not used to that kind of water. That is what we will address here. It could be that you are sensitive to the chlorine, or worse yet, the Chloramines that many water treatment systems are using now, that can be much stronger power. But have less foul odor or chemical smell. The only way to know what you have in that regard is to first contact the water provider and ask for any current test results (PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE). If you are unsure of what to do, please don’t hesitate to contact a friendly water tech here at 800-684-0979 for assistance. We know what the tests mean, and can help determine if there are any concerns. If there are other tests that need to be done, we can do that too. You asked if “Boiling the water” would help before drinking? It can’t hurt. That is for sure. But if it is a public water supply that is large enough to be required to have chemicals to kill harmful bacteria, chemicals such as chlorimines and chlorine, the likelihood of coli or coliform is low. Cryptosporidium is a contaminant that chemicals can fail to control. It is prevalent in many cities. Boiling would certainly be a good idea in that regard. Just remember that boiling does not remove all of the chemicals, so it might be a good idea to let the water sit for a day or so before boiling. To reduce those levels of chemicals in the water. Or, you can also simply add reverse osmosis at the kitchen sink to control most of this. They are int of use and very inexpensive compared to whole house systems. And the average handy homeowner can usually install them fairly easy. But you should find out a little about the water first. Before you buy anything from anyone. Call a friendly tech here if you need help with that. We are here 7 days a week, including most Sundays and Holidays (We do sleep at night). So go ahead and give us a call. Our phones are answered 24/7.

      And finally, if you are drinking bottled water you can’t really go wrong. We would just suggest you do not choose the “Spring Water” types, as they usually contain far more elements than water filtered by reverse osmosis. ReverseOsmosis filtered bottled water should be available in almost any grocery store. Just read the label. It will either mention treatment from reverse osmosis, or it won’t. If it does mention that as the filtration method, or as part of the overall filtration. That is a dependable purchase. If it just says it’s filtered, without the words “reverse osmosis”, then it is just a “roll of the dice” as to what quality of water you are actually purchasing. There are NO federal bottled water quality standards that we know of. But if it says “Reverse osmosis” as part of the process. It would be fraudulent if it were not true. So is a far higher likelihood the water has been purified. Reverse osmosis treated bottled water at your local store or grocer, should not really be more expensive either. It is ok if it says “We add minerals for taste”. They just do that to satisfy people who are not used to really clean water. It is usually calcium, magnesium, potassium or other additives to make the water have a different “Flavor”. These waters are usually just fine as well. Because they have been filtered completely first. Dasani is a water with additives that we find a very good taste and value.
      Reverse osmosis WITHOUT additives is absolutely the “Cleanest” in regard to additional substances being present in the water. Then you can add what you actually want. Such as coffee, teas or juices. Those things will be mighty tasty when made with purified RO water.
      Also, if instead of a municipal water supply, you are on a private well. That would be a different discussion. Yes, it is always advisable to boil that sort of water. Especially if you are unsure of it’s quality. Then you should certainly test it. If you have private well water and you think it is making you sick, we can help. Just call a friendly water tech for advise at 800-684-0979. They will help you figure it out. So don’t worry. We will always help, even if you never buy a thing.

      Take care,

  3. It’s so crazy that you say your still thirsty after you drink water… Everytime I drink my sink water guaranteed runs 15-20 min after. But I use the sink water for my ice tray and nothing happens. Why is that?

    • It is hard to say as we have no idea what your water source is, such as private well water, city water, spring water, cistern water etc. If you are on private well water you should have it tested for e-coli and coliform bacteria to be sure that is not what is making you sick. We can do any kind of testing you might need. If you are on city water, or some other municipal supply it could be a lot of different things, including high amounts of chlorine or chlorimines in the water that dissipate after the freezing process, or that the ice cubes are diluted by what you are mixing them into. Proper testing is almost always the answer. If you are on a private well, for example, hardness in the water can react with things like sulfate or sulfur causing a diarrhea effect. We saw on family who had a water softener installed after having really hard water, and they did not understand they should use far less soaps and chemicals, because they no longer needed so much to fight the effects of bad wait. They were getting diarrhea effects from too much soap or all things! When they were filling ice trays there was no soap involved. Please don’t hesitate to give us a quick call and speak with a friendly water tech about your water. They are friendly and will simply give you great advice. Don’t worry.
      Take care

  4. The idea of injecting a small solution of chlorine into the water between the well pump and pressure tank seems like an effective way to treat the water and make it safe for consumption. The explanation of how the retention tanks are used to ensure proper contact time based on flow rate is also very informative. Overall, this article offers valuable information on ensuring safe well water and dealing with virus contamination. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Respones to:
    “Since most disease-causing pathogens like cryptosporidium are expelled from RO treated water, it is highly safe to drink and cannot cause diarrhea.”

    This is an absolutely untrue statement. Normally standard residential reverse osmosis systems are NOT approved for harmful bacteria, including crypto, ecoli, coliform etc. The pre-filters on the RO can and certainly will become contaminated with these bacteria and pathogens if present in the water. Causing them to grow and multiply in the pre filter. Most RO pre-filters include some form of carbon. Carbon breeds bacteria in non-chlorinated water. Additionally, if the membrane fails at all, you are going to have a real health issue because of this sort of thinking. Be VERY wary of unscrupulous water treatment professionals who represent reverse osmosis to be the “Miracle” filter that removes everything. Also please keep in mind that reverse osmosis is not rated to remove 100% of contaminants. Most remove 96% to 99% depending on the quality of the unit, water pressure, water temperature and overall water quality. If you have city water that is properly chlorinated and disinfected before filtering, you are probably not going to see harmful pathogens and bacteria grow in the filter. Cryptosporidium can live in chlorinated water however. Always be sure not to touch the filters with your hands when replacing them. You don’t want to contaminate the filters with bacteria from your hands.

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