What is a bacteria test and what does it tell me?

A bacteria test checks for the presence of total coliform bacteria and fecal coliform bacteria. These bacteria are not normally present in deeper groundwater sources. They are associated with warm-blooded animals, so they are normally found in surface water and in shallow groundwater (less than 20 to 40 feet in depth).

These bacteria are not necessarily pathogenic bacteria that make people sick but are used as standard indicators of the safety of the water. If these bacteria are present, then the conditions are favorable for harmful bacteria to exist. While some people may be unaffected from drinking the water, many have symptoms of stomach and intestinal illness, diarrhea, etc., especially the young, the old and immuno-compromised individuals.

Show All Answers

1. Do I need to get a permit to drill a well or repair my existing well?
2. What inspections from the Health Department are required for my well?
3. What do I need to do to maintain my well?
4. When does a well need to be abandoned and why?
5. How can I test the quality of my private drinking water supply?
6. What is a bacteria test and what does it tell me?
7. What do I do if bacteria are found in my well?
8. What happens if the bacteria return after chlorination?
9. How often do I need to disinfect (chlorinate) my well?
10. How often should I have my well tested?
11. My well has a terrible rotten egg (sulfur) smell. What do I do?
12. I am having problems with the quality of my water (cloudy, red, black, or brown colored, green staining, etc). Where can I find help?
13. Do I need to get my water tested for pesticides or petroleum products (VOC)?