Bacteria in Drinking Water

Bacteria in our drinking water are one of the main sources of waterborne illnesses all over the world. These bacteria occur naturally in the air, water and soil, but most outbreaks of bacteriological contamination in drinking water are due to water coming into direct contact with human and animal waste.

The World Health Organization estimates that 50% of the population of Africa suffers from water-related diseases like infant diarrhea and typhoid due to inadequate access to clean drinking water or improper sanitation. But these problems are not confined to developing countries.

The modern, industrialized societies of the West, in spite of progressive water filtration methods, still suffer occasional outbreaks of water contamination from bacteria as heavy rainfall overwhelms sewage systems and runoff from livestock feedlots enters our surface waters.

Common Bacteriological Contaminants

These bacteria are the most common threats to our drinking water and have been a persistent problem for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Methods of Disinfection

There are several methods of disinfection that you can employ to prevent these contaminants from making you and your family ill. These methods are the following:

Where to Get your Water Tested

If you get your water from one of the more than 160,000 public water systems in the U.S., you will probably never need to have your drinking water tested as these utilities test their water constantly and are required by law to submit regular reports.

If you get your drinking water from a private well, you are not required to test your water at all, but it is recommended that you have your water tested at least once every two years for contaminants. The tests are fairly inexpensive, and you can get a list of licensed testing facilities from your county�s water commission.


No matter where you live or where you get your drinking water, bacteriological contamination is a constant threat to your health. Most of us suffer occasional mild symptoms from bacteria in our food and water and attribute it to a case of the flu.

As more serious outbreaks occur and make headlines, more and more of us are becoming aware of these waterborne pathogens and seek our own solutions for water filtration for our homes. These filtering methods range from whole house systems with a variety of filtration media to faucet mounted filters, under sink filters, and water pitcher filters, to name a few.

Whichever method makes the most sense for your situation, from the simple to the comprehensive, taking charge of your own water filtration is an economical way to keep your drinking water safe.