How to Remove Bacteria from your Drinking Water
How often have we been warned not to drink water that has not been treated properly? Well, probably too many times to remember. This is not very surprising, considering that unsafe drinking water, containing bacteria can cause innumerable infectious diseases, including, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, giardiasis and typhoid. Bacteria in drinking water is one of the most harmful contaminants that you can encounter and therefore, it is important that you take adequate measures to eliminate the risk of bacteria infection by purifying drinking water as well as possible.
How to find out if your drinking water is bacteria contaminated?
Because testing for specific disease causing bacteria in the water is expensive, it makes more sense to check for coliform bacteria in the water. This bacteria is found in human and animal waters and if your water is tested and found to contain traces of this bacteria, you are exposed to the dangers of water borne diseases.
In addition, you will notice that iron bacteria form a recognizable reddish-brown slime on the inside of pipes and fixtures. If your toilet tank shows signs of this slime, you can be certain that the water is contaminated by bacteria and you need to take measures to remove them.
Preventive measures to purify bacteria from drinking water
Since the health and well-being of your family is of utmost importance, do not lose time to remove the contaminants from the water. There is however, no need to panic because bacteria contamination in drinking water is actually common.
It has been found out that spring water supplies are most often contaminated by bacteria and thus you should work upon improving the protection of a well or spring if your water inflow is derived from such a source. Though common, well pits are not very hygienic and their constructions are no longer approved. If you are planning to construct a well for your home, get a pitless well adapter with a casing that extends at least a foot above the ground and which is provided with an approved cap.
Ceramic water filters or water filters that are rated to remove bacteria are a good choice as most will remove bacteria and also a wide range of other contaminants from your drinking water. You can find water filters that remove bacteria by following these links portable/camping water filter page if you are looking for portable filters or our ceramic water filter page if you are looking for a countertop or undersink filter.
Make sure that you keep the home plumbing system clean at all times. In addition, you should also clean and sanitize your spring or well with an effective method of killing bacteria in drinking water, which is called shock chlorination. A huge amount of chlorine ranging from 50 to 200 milligrams per liter is used in this treatment. Thereafter, this highly chlorinated water is held in the pipes for 12-24 hours before it is flushed out and the system is ready and safe for use again.
In addition to the well, you should also shock chlorinate the water treatment equipments at your home, such as the water softeners, sand filters and iron filters to effectively remove the bacteria from your drinking water. To avoid damaging the equipments, however, make sure read the manufacturer’s brochure before you go about chlorinating them. Do not chlorinate carbon or charcoal filters or reverse osmosis units, as this shall render them almost useless. Keep in mind never to mix chlorine solutions with other cleaning agents or ammonia as this gives rise to toxic gases.
Boiling your drinking water is an extremely effective method for disinfecting it. It helps in killing off the bacteria from water, as well as disease-causing organisms and giardia cysts.
Using ultraviolet filters
Such filters are effective in removing bacteria from your water. However, it does not kill giardia cysts.
Iodine for disinfection
Adding iodine to your drinking water can help to kill pathogenic bacteria in your water. However, it does not kill of the bacteria very fast, so a holding time of at least 20 minutes is required, depending on the amount of water that needs to be purified. You can then use a carbon filter to remove the iodine from your water just before drinking.
Other forms of water treatments that shall help you to remove bacteria from drinking water include reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration, or chemical oxidation, disinfection and microfiltration. Chemical oxidation is one of the most common and effective means of purifying water and Reverse Osmosis is normally capable of removing 99% of bacteria from your drinking water.