Can water be tested for E. coli, anyone know what the test is called and how much it costs to do?

Found 3rd Jan 2015
What are the practicalities of testing for E. coli?

Can you just tear open a testing kit and do it?

How much do they cost?

Are the results definitive or an indication of presence of biological material?

(I'm doing some googling but it's 99% about the US)

Someone told me something and I smell bs

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If you're on a public supply, ie you pay a water company for your water, there's little to zero chance of there being E. Coli in the supply and a waste of time and money analysing it. Your water company continuously monitors the supply.

Original Poster

In response to the suggestion of outgoing water containing E. Coli, I'm researching the nature of the test someone says they've done.

Sounds like, in the US anyway, there are groups who like to keep an eye on their water supply so there's demand for the knowledge and 3M sell kits of various types.

wide

In response to the suggestion of outgoing water containing E. Coli, I'm … In response to the suggestion of outgoing water containing E. Coli, I'm researching the nature of the test someone says they've done. Sounds like, in the US anyway, there are groups who like to keep an eye on their water supply so there's demand for the knowledge and 3M sell kits of various types.



If you know 3m sell them have you not answered you own question.

Someone told me something and I smell bs



If you smell BS in your water then there could be a presence of E.coli. E. coli is a type of fecal coliform bacteria commonly found in the intestines of animals and human.

What exactly do you want to know? I work in a water lab.

Most testing kits are likely to give unreliable results as you won't have taken the sample in ideal conditions.

NEtech

If you smell BS in your water then there could be a presence of E.coli. … If you smell BS in your water then there could be a presence of E.coli. E. coli is a type of fecal coliform bacteria commonly found in the intestines of animals and human.



Sounds logically but not the case, it only takes a few cells to proliferate so I wouldn't base the smell of waste as indicative of contamination.

To answer your question having done microbial testing for Yorkshire Water the test method involves filtering water through a paper membrane onto agar growing for 18-24 hours and counting the number of colonies formed.

In regards to a home method you're not going to have much luck, if you are mains fed, you are wasting your time trying to find an answer, the water sources for the water company are tested multiple times a day, any bacteria found and the water source is isolated before it reaches customers under normal conditions (there are cases here and there where it has slipped the net so to say, but few and far between). If you supply your own water you could contact the local water supplier to your area and ask for a ad-hoc check they should do it but for a price (it won't be cheap at least £100), or try to see if there are any private companies offering water testing but again it will be pricey.

If you are after a litmus dip test type kit, I wouldn't hold your breath if it ever does come to market for the public it's going to be expensive and pointless.

Original Poster

mysuni

Most testing kits are likely to give unreliable results as you won't have … Most testing kits are likely to give unreliable results as you won't have taken the sample in ideal conditions.


BarmyBulldog

Sounds logically but not the case, it only takes a few cells to … Sounds logically but not the case, it only takes a few cells to proliferate so I wouldn't base the smell of waste as indicative of contamination.To answer your question having done microbial testing for Yorkshire Water the test method involves filtering water through a paper membrane onto agar growing for 18-24 hours and counting the number of colonies formed.In regards to a home method you're not going to have much luck, if you are mains fed, you are wasting your time trying to find an answer, the water sources for the water company are tested multiple times a day, any bacteria found and the water source is isolated before it reaches customers under normal conditions (there are cases here and there where it has slipped the net so to say, but few and far between). If you supply your own water you could contact the local water supplier to your area and ask for a ad-hoc check they should do it but for a price (it won't be cheap at least £100), or try to see if there are any private companies offering water testing but again it will be pricey.If you are after a litmus dip test type kit, I wouldn't hold your breath if it ever does come to market for the public it's going to be expensive and pointless.



I'm trying to estimate the significance of someone saying they found "16,000 cpg" of E. Coli. Test apparently done on water that's a mixture of rain and output from a regularly serviced biodigester.

How does 16,000 cpg fit into the bell curve of results for this kind of test? I mean I expect it's within the realms of possibility but is it actually a high number?

It's certainly within the realms of possibility that the tester *believes* they've carried out a valid test.


I don't think there are any standards for the concentration of bacteria in waste water. I think the acronym you're wanting to use is cfu or coliform forming units. That is a very high concentration of ecoli.

You're biodigester is firing out huge amounts of ecoli cause it's not coming from the rain.

If you're concerned about the validity of results from a lab, check if they are UCAS accredited, if so they are legit.
Edited by: "moob" 4th Jan 2015

wide

I'm trying to estimate the significance of someone saying they found … I'm trying to estimate the significance of someone saying they found "16,000 cpg" of E. Coli. Test apparently done on water that's a mixture of rain and output from a regularly serviced biodigester.How does 16,000 cpg fit into the bell curve of results for this kind of test? I mean I expect it's within the realms of possibility but is it actually a high number?It's certainly within the realms of possibility that the tester *believes* they've carried out a valid test.




As said I think you mean colony forming units or blobs of bacteria on the agar. In relation to drinking water even 1 CFU is a failure and will lead to isolation of that water source for treatment.

However as you said it is a biodigester which is a form of waste treatment how contaminated that gets has no relevance as the biodigester if working correctly will filter the water clean.

What person said they found 16000 CFUs? How did they get this result? was it E.coli or just bacteria on a general agar plate? Just to add the maximum CFU count before the colonies become indistinguishable and form one massive swarm for E.coli is about 800 if the colonies are small.

Are you processing the biodigester rain water for drinking water purposes? Or curious as to what is present? The biodigester will trap and no doubt feed the bacteria present allowing them to proliferate, you will never find it to be clean, nothing in our lives is aseptic, even the cleaners which kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses can still leave millions of cells behind.

Without an understanding as to what your interests are in this it's hard to gauge an answer for you. To stress again I wouldn't worry how dirty the biodigester is as long as it does its job. If you are worried about E.coli as to where it came from, it will no doubt be down to guano from birds mixing with the rain water.

Original Poster

moob

I don't think there are any standards for the concentration of bacteria … I don't think there are any standards for the concentration of bacteria in waste water. I think the acronym you're wanting to use is cfu or coliform forming units. That is a very high concentration of ecoli. You're biodigester is firing out huge amounts of ecoli cause it's not coming from the rain. If you're concerned about the validity of results from a lab, check if they are UCAS accredited, if so they are legit.


BarmyBulldog

As said I think you mean colony forming units or blobs of bacteria on the … As said I think you mean colony forming units or blobs of bacteria on the agar. In relation to drinking water even 1 CFU is a failure and will lead to isolation of that water source for treatment.However as you said it is a biodigester which is a form of waste treatment how contaminated that gets has no relevance as the biodigester if working correctly will filter the water clean. What person said they found 16000 CFUs? How did they get this result? was it E.coli or just bacteria on a general agar plate? Just to add the maximum CFU count before the colonies become indistinguishable and form one massive swarm for E.coli is about 800 if the colonies are small.Are you processing the biodigester rain water for drinking water purposes? Or curious as to what is present? The biodigester will trap and no doubt feed the bacteria present allowing them to proliferate, you will never find it to be clean, nothing in our lives is aseptic, even the cleaners which kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses can still leave millions of cells behind.Without an understanding as to what your interests are in this it's hard to gauge an answer for you. To stress again I wouldn't worry how dirty the biodigester is as long as it does its job. If you are worried about E.coli as to where it came from, it will no doubt be down to guano from birds mixing with the rain water.



Hi again, thank you both very very much for your information, I now have plenty of information that a) sounds solid and b) gives me keywords for further research.

We're stuck in the middle of a legitimate concern downstream and any number of sources of post biodigester outputs upstream. To complicate things, the local drainage system appears badly documented. I'd love to give you a thorough lowdown but that would be airing dirty washing online.

You've helped me a great deal in gaining a handle on a difficult situation so again, many many thanks

wide

Hi again, thank you both very very much for your information, I now have … Hi again, thank you both very very much for your information, I now have plenty of information that a) sounds solid and b) gives me keywords for further research. We're stuck in the middle of a legitimate concern downstream and any number of sources of post biodigester outputs upstream. To complicate things, the local drainage system appears badly documented. I'd love to give you a thorough lowdown but that would be airing dirty washing online.You've helped me a great deal in gaining a handle on a difficult situation so again, many many thanks


You really should let the Environment Agency or SEPA take care of it.

Original Poster

moob

You really should let the Environment Agency or SEPA take care of it.



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