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What if Your Water Well Tests Positive for Coliform Bacteria?

Four generations of experience installing, maintaining and
repairing wells throughout Utah and Wyoming.
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So, you had your annual water well test, and the results revealed contamination from coliform bacteria. What are you supposed to do now? Is your family going to get seriously sick from drinking the well water?

First of all, don’t panic – most strains of coliform bacteria are harmless to humans. Some can create mild stomach upset and general flu-like symptoms, but only a few strains cause serious illness or disease. Therefore, while you should stop drinking the well water until you know more, the positive test doesn’t mean your family is doomed.

In many cases, experienced water well contractors – like the Z-Team here at Mike Zimmerman Well Services – can resolve bacterial contamination problems.

Dealing with coliform bacterial in your water well
Old brick wishing well in colorful dahlia garden

Water Well Inspection and System Maintenance

After repeating the coliform bacteria test to confirm the results and a follow-up E. coli test to determine the extent of the bacterial threat, a professional contractor will perform a thorough inspection of your entire water well system and complete any necessary maintenance. This may include:

  • Extending the well casing above the ground
  • Sloping the ground away from the well casing
  • Installing a new sanitary well cap
  • Repairing cracks or holes in the well pipes
  • Making sure the storage tank is watertight

If the E. coli bacteria is present, a professional contractor will also recommend that you have your septic system checked and, if necessary, repaired.

Shock Chlorination Treatment for Coliform Bacteria

After eliminating all possible entry points for bacterial contamination, a professional contractor may consider shock chlorination to remove the coliform bacteria from your water well.

Shock chlorination can be effective when contamination is the result of a one-time event, such as the installation of a replacement submersible well pump or a heavy downfall of rain. After the treatment, another water well test is necessary to ensure that bacteria are no longer present.

Continuous Disinfection to Ensure Bacteria-Free Well Water

If shock chlorination doesn’t work to get rid of the bacterial contamination, a professional contractor will turn to continuous disinfection.

Installing a chlorination system, along with a sediment filter, can keep your water well safe from coliform bacteria. However, these systems require a significant amount of maintenance to ensure proper operation, and the chlorine required must be handled according to strict safety guidelines.

More often, a professional contractor will prefer to accompany the sediment filter with an ultraviolet (UV) light unit. This device irradiates the well water as it enters the system, keeping it free of coliform bacteria. If the water has a high hardness level, the addition of a softening system may be advised.

If your water well has tested positive for bacterial contamination and you live in Utah or Wyoming, the licensed Z-Team contractors at Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC are here to help.

With over 30 years of experience, Mike Zimmerman Well Service understands how to keep your drinking water safe and your water well in optimal working order. Contact our Salt Lake City office and let the Z-team solve your coliform bacteria problem today.