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What to Do about Coliform Bacteria in Well Water

Publication Number: P3078
Updated: May 5, 2017
View as PDF: P3078.pdf

Coliform bacteria are a large group of many kinds of bacteria, including fecal coliform bacteria, which occur naturally in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. The group also includes non-fecal coliform bacteria.

One species of fecal coliform bacteria is Escherichia coli. If E. coli or other fecal coliform bacteria are in well water, the water has come into contact with human or animal waste and could cause disease.

People who drink water from a private well should have the water tested at least once a year to make sure that it is safe to drink. If you receive a positive test result (present) for total coliform or coliform bacteria, follow the guidelines listed.

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Assistant Extension Professor
Community Development, Economics & Natural Resources, Water & Wastewater Utilities, Municipal Utilit

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