Some of the types of bacteria that can be found in water include Campylobacter jejuni (the resulting in infection is called campylobacteriosis), Escherichia Coli (E. coli infections cause fever, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea), Giardia Lamblia, Hepatitis A, Legionella Pneumophila, and Salmonella.
Human and animal wastes are a primary source of bacteria in water. These sources of bacterial contamination include runoff from feedlots, pastures, dog runs, and other land areas where animal wastes are deposited. Additional sources include seepage or discharge from septic tanks, sewage treatment facilities, and natural soil/plant bacteria. Bacteria from these sources can enter wells that are either open at the land surface or do not have water-tight casings or caps.
Insects, rodents or animals entering the well are other sources of contamination. Old wells were dug by hand and lined (cased) with rocks or bricks. These wells usually have large openings and casings that often are not well-sealed. This makes it easy for insects, rodents, or animals to enter the well.
Older water systems, especially, dug wells, spring-fed systems, and cistern-type systems are most vulnerable to bacterial contamination. Any system with casings or caps that are not water-tight are vulnerable. This is particularly true if the well is located so surface runoff might be able to enter the well. During the last five to 10 years, well and water distribution system construction has improved to the point where bacterial contamination is rare in newer wells.
Should you get your water tested in your Houston TX area home or commercial building? The answer to this question depends on several factors. It concerns your health and the health of your family, so you need to know some basic facts. In addition to illness, a variety of less serious problems such as taste, color, odor and staining of clothes or fixtures are signs of possible water quality problems. Other things to think about include the nearness of your water well to septic systems and the composition of your home's plumbing materials.