Indoor Bacteria Testing
Has your building or home had a sewage back-up or toilet over flow, or a sprinkler system leak? If so, dangerous bacteria such as Fecal Coliform, Total Coliform, and E. coli could have contaminated much of the building surfaces contacted during the water loss or sewage back-up.
What Is Bacteria?
Bacteria are microscopic, one-celled organisms usually classified as plants (in a division called fungi). Bacteria typically originates in human and animal wastes and can enter a water supply from septic tank drainage, sewage and sewer back-ups, a toilet overflow, feedlot manure or direct drainage of surface runoff into wells. In addition to contaminating construction materials, bacterial contamination remains the most common water quality problem for individual (private wells) and small community public systems (under 1,000 service connections).
How Do You Come In Contact With Bacteria?
Humans and animals can come into contact with bacteria through several ways:
Skin contact: walking, laying, crawling on floors and other construction materials that have been exposed to black water (sewer water).
Inhalation: breathing bacteria contaminated air.
Ingestion: drinking bacteria contaminated well or tap water.
Fecal coliform bacteria are mostly found in drinking water that comes from private wells and small water systems. This is partly because private water supplies, small rural public water supplies and private wells are not required, by law, to be tested. Every time you drink water from one of these sources, you may be exposed to harmful levels of bacteria, which can pose immediate threat to your health. Families drinking non-chlorinated water such as from an underground well and apartment dwellers roof-top wood storage tanks are especially susceptible to bacterial contamination. Home water treatment devices utilizing GAC (Granular Activated Charcoal) as a singular filtering device may also become a breeding ground for bacteria.
What Can Bacteria Do To You?
Fecal coliform bacteria in drinking water can lead to diseases such as typhoid fever and cholera, though these diseases are rare in the United States. Fecal coliform bacteria contamination can also lead to infectious hepatitis and dysentery, which are more common. Some experts believe that exposure to high levels of bacteria in drinking water can also make infants more susceptible to the toxic effects of nitrates in drinking water. Symptoms associated with bacterial contamination include digestive problems, fever, nausea, diarrhea and cramps.
Bacterial Infection VS Viral Infection
Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria and viral infections are caused by viruses. Infections caused by bacteria include strep throat, tuberculosis and urinary tract infections. Diseases that result from viruses include chickenpox, AIDS and the common cold.
Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that thrive in many different types of environments. Some varieties live in extremes of cold or heat, while others make their home in people's intestines, where they help digest food. Most bacteria cause no harm to people.
Viruses are even smaller than bacteria and require living hosts — such as people, plants or animals — to multiply. Otherwise, they can't survive. When a virus enters your body, it invades some of your cells and takes over the cell machinery, redirecting it to produce the virus.
Perhaps the most important distinction between bacteria and viruses is that antibiotic drugs usually kill bacteria, but they aren't effective against viruses. In some cases, it may be difficult to determine whether bacteria or a virus is causing your symptoms. Many ailments — such as pneumonia, meningitis and diarrhea — can be caused by either type of microbe.
Inappropriate use of antibiotics has helped create strains of bacterial disease that are resistant to treatment with different types of antibiotic medications.
[return to top]
AMI can test to determine if bacteria contamination has occurred by taking surface and cultured samples. If the black water loss is positive for bacteria, AMI can oversee the decontamination project of all building materials through your sewage abatement contractor.
For more specific information about testing for bacteria in your building,