Many residential dwellings across the world use a private well as a main water source. As with all potable water sources, these wells / bore holes need to be regularly tested and treated.
Many contaminants found in well water can be detrimental to health (nitrates, pesticides etc). However, coliform bacteria is generally considered the biggest contamination issue in regards to private water sources. Contamination can occur during well installation or due to other factors such as flooding, defective well caps and cracks in the well.
Coliforms are found all around us in the environment - soil, plants, water, animals,waste etc which is why they are so often found in wells.
A total coliform test is used an indicator of the general health of the water and the likelihood of pathogens being present. Basically the presence of coliforms in the water means that the quality of water is not up to standard and that potentially harmful organisms could be in the water supply.
Testing for coliforms will allow you to assess whether the water quality is sufficient for consumption and if your treatment regime is effective.
There are various testing methods to evaluate coliform levels in water. We offer a dipslide that features MacConkey 3 agar. This agar is a test for coliforms that will also suppress non coliform bacteria. Plate count agar is on the other side of the dipslide. This tests for viable organisms in water and will provide a total bacteria count.
There have been occasional outbreaks of E-Coli after consumption of well water.
If you would like a specific E Coli test, we offer a dipslide that features the same agars as this dipslide but also offers an e-coli test by shining a uv light / torch on the incubated dipslide. You can view this dipslide here: E coli Dipslides
In some areas there won’t actually be any legal requirements regarding water testing for private well owners*. However, local authorities will have their own recommendations for how wells should be tested and the regularity of those tests. The general advice is that the well is tested for microbiological contamination at least once a year. Some areas also require that you test your well before your house is sold.
If you have tested a treated system and it has tested positive for contamination this will indicate that your disinfection techniques are not satisfactory.
We recommend use of our dipslides by professional companies that regularly carry out well installation, testing, treatment and maintenance.
About our coliform test
MacConkey 3 Agar: This agar detects coliform bacteria. This agar formulation is recommended by the American Public Health Association for testing water samples for coliforms.
Plate Count Agar: This agar provides a total count of viable organisms in water. Colonies grow on this agar as red dots, making them easy to view and count.
These dipslides come in a box of 10. Price listed is per box.
*This all depends on your location. Check with your local authority. Also some areas may recommend the use of state certified laboratories (USA).