Microbiological Water Testing
At Fountain Valley Analytical Laboratory, Inc., we can test your water sample for many bacterial contaminants, including coliform bacteria, E. Coli, yeasts and molds, etc. Most test results are available in 24 hours, and our team will be happy to help you interpret them, so that you can take the right steps to improving the quality of your water supply.
Routine Water Testing Program
Unlike municipal systems that are monitored routinely, many privately owned wells are rarely tested after the initial check. Because sensory clues are often absent in cases of water pollution, it is a good idea to have a routine testing program for your water supply. Get in touch with our laboratory and we’ll help you develop a testing schedule tailored to your needs.
What We Can Test For
Aerobic Plate Counts
This test measures the total amount of bacteria which utilize oxygen.
Total Coliforms, Fecal Coliforms and E. coli
Coliform bacteria are naturally occurring, rod-shaped microorganisms that exist in soil, on skin, in rivers, lakes and streams. One type of coliform, the fecal coliform, is found in the intestinal tract of people and animals. E. coli is a member of the fecal coliform group, and we can specifically test for the variant E. coli O157:H7.
Enterococcus (or fecal streptococcus) are found in the environment and are often used as an indicator of suitability in recreational waters.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a chlorine-resistant organism sometimes found in pools and spas. In healthy people, it may cause swimmer’s ear and “hot tub rash,” but in individuals with weakened immunity it may lead to a serious infection.
Yeasts & Molds
We can measure the total amount of yeasts and mold in food or water.
HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) Testing
HACCP testing is a plan for controlling contamination during the processing and packaging of food which often uses various microbiological tests to ensure product safety.
Iron & Sulfur Bacteria
Iron and sulfur bacteria generally don’t pose a risk to our health, but nonetheless can be an issue. They may add an odd or unpleasant smell, taste or color to the water, as well as cause problems with plumbing and well equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do bacteria get into my well?
Wells may become contaminated due to missing or defective well caps, defective seals around wires and pipes, inadequate or cracked casing, a leaking pitless adapter, or any way in which surface water may enter.
How often should I test my well or spring for coliforms?
Coliforms are easily detected and their presence or absence is used to determine water quality. If a well is used as a drinking water supply, it is recommended to have the water tested at least annually for coliform bacteria. If a spring is used, the water should be checked at least quarterly, or whenever there is a change in the taste, color or odor of the water.
If I have bacteria in my water, will it make me sick?
Coliform bacteria are “indicator” organisms and are not always harmful themselves. Because some are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals, the presence of coliforms may indicate that other, more harmful organisms may also be present. This other bacteria may cause disease, usually in the form of gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, water that has tested positive for coliforms should not be considered safe for drinking.
What can I do if I have bacteria in my water?
First of all, disinfect your well. Most drilled wells with adequate casing and no leaks can be disinfected through chlorination. If, after repeated chlorination, there are still bacteria present, your options are to a) drill a new well or b) treat the water with a purification device, such as a chlorinator, UV light or ozonator.
Please contact us with any questions or to schedule water quality testing.