E. Coli Bacteria – Drinking Water Contaminants and How to Remove

E.coli or Escherichia coli is a commonly found bacteria. Escherichia coli, abbreviated E. coli, is a bacterium that is found in the large intestine or feces of healthy warm-blooded animals and humans. If consumed through mediums such as water, it releases powerful chemicals that will result in severe illness by damaging the lining of the intestine.

It is smart to wonder how your water can become contaminated with this bacteria and how you can effectively remove it. Here we will p[rovide you a detailed explanation on this and more!

Scroll on forward to learn more.

What are coliform bacteria?

Coliform bacteria are commonly found bacteria present in the intestines of humans as well as all warm-blooded animals. They are generally unlikely to cause us any harm. However, some strains can be responsible for causing severe food poisoning. E. coli is one such strain.

Since testing your water supply for all the various pathogenic strains can be time-consuming and expensive, water is usually screened for coliform bacteria itself. The presence of coliform bacteria suggests that some fecal matter may have contaminated your water supply. This testing helps determine whether or not your water supply is safe to drink.

How Can your Water Get An E. coli Contamination?

E. coli is a fecal coliform bacteria. It exists primarily in the intestines of animals and humans. The presence of this pathogenic strain indicates that your water supply may have some kind of sewage contamination.

Similarly, water runoff from rain or smaller streams may carry this contamination into your rivers, lakes, or even groundwater. Another likely event is a mixture of floodwater with your well water supply. Loose seals or cracks in your well can also allow for contamination to seep in.

When water from these contaminated surface or groundwater is used without proper filtering, you can get an E. coli infection. Any water source needs to be appropriately inspected and adequately treated before it reaches your home to prevent this infection.

How to Test your Water for E. Coli?

There are many options available for testing water. You can purchase one of the many available testing kits. To use these kits, all you have to do is get a sample of water and dip the testing strip into the water. A distinct change in color will alert you regarding the presence of coliform bacteria in your water supply.

If at-home testing results are not satisfactory, you can always consult a water testing companies. These might be more expensive, but if you are indeed concerned about the safety of your water supply, then they might just be worth it.

How to Remove E. coli from your Water?

The easiest way to ensure that E. Coli is removed from your water supply is by boiling it. You simply need to boil it for one minute, longer if you are at higher elevations. Water distillation is, thus, the most effective way to keep your water safe. The boiled water can be condensed or cooled, then refrigerated for consumption.

This boiling process should be paired with regular testing until the water shows no sign of contamination. If the results are continuously positive, you should consider pumping out and replacing the water.

Keeping your Water Supply Free of E. coli

While boiling is an effective way to deal with E. coli contamination, it is not a viable long term solution. So what can you actually do to keep your water supply safe for consumption? The following can be some of the measures that you can take:

  • Conducting regular inspection and repair for your wells and plumbing systems.
  • Switching to regional public water systems for increased water quality.
  • Installing a long-term water disinfection system.
  • Constructing a different well if contamination persists.

Symptoms of E. coli

The symptoms of E. coli can take anywhere between 2 to 10 days to show after infection. The following are the list of symptoms to be wary of in case you suspect an E. coli contamination:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Excess gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Blood in your stool

What to do if I have these Symptoms?

Generally, the symptoms of E.coli tend to go away by itself after a couple of days. Some home remedies you can try can be:

  • Increase your water intake.
  • Add electrolyte supplements to your diet.
  • Avoid any dairy products or fatty foods.
  • Steer clear of highly seasoned foods.
  • Opt. for low-fiber foods like toast, rice, or eggs.

When Should you be Worried?

E. coli can be more dangerous for people with a weaker immune system or elderly people. Similarly, infants are at high risk of getting infected. So, that begs the question, when should you visit a doctor? The following can be some of the signs that you need to consult a medical professional.

  • Presence of blood in your stools.
  • Persistent diarrhea that lasts over four days.
  • Any vomiting that lasts for over 12 hours.
  • Lack of any relief from abdominal cramps even after a bowel movement.
  • High dehydration such as a lack of urine despite drinking fluids.
  • Inability to keep any food down.

Additional Tips to Keep yourself Safe

Water contamination is only one of the many ways through which you can get an E. coli infection. To keep yourself properly protected, you can also adopt the following habits:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before eating or handling any food.
  • Always ensure your meat is cooked thoroughly at the right temperatures.
  • Be especially wary when handling poultry.
  • Avoid swimming in public pools.
  • Wash all your fruits and vegetables well before eating.
  • Refrigerate your food within two hours of cooking it.

In summary,

An E. coli infestation can be a hassle for any home-owner. These days testing for coliform bacteria has become very easy. Furthermore, there are known methods that will leave your water safe and pure for consumption. There can be many steps you can take to keep your water supply and yourself safe.