How to Remove Bacteria from Water

Removing bacteria from water in your home

How to Remove Coliform Bacteria in Well Water

Bacteria in water is a big problem for many households on private wells. Waterborne bacteria and other living microorganisms have the potential to make us very sick. In fact, nearly 7.2 million Americans become ill from waterborne diseases each year--and having a well puts you at significantly more risk of water contamination.

bacteria in well waterStudies show that 40% of private wells have coliform bacteria present at any given time, not to mention the other bacteria such as E. coli, that could also be in a water supply. Potentially 7.6 million households need a way to address bacterial contamination.

19 million households in the U.S. rely on private well water, yet more than 50% of these wells have never been tested. The tough part is that the quality of well water can vary from day to day. And daily water testing and monitoring is a laborious process.

The best way to ensure your well water is safe from illness-causing bacteria and other microbes, is to install a UV water disinfection system. UV water filtration systems can monitor your water 24/7, and kill bacteria at >99.9999% and viruses at >99.99%.

If a UV sterilizer is not installed, test your well water frequently to make sure your household water is safe.

If your well tests positive for coliform bacteria, it may signal that other disease-causing organisms are present in the water.

What Bacteria is Found in Well Water?

Different types of bacteria can live in water. The problem is that you cannot smell, taste or see bacteria in your well water. Bacteria cannot be detected without performing a water test.

Salmonella, Iron bacteria, Shigella, Vibrio, Coliform bacteria including E. coli are bacteria commonly found in water.

Other microbes commonly found in water include:

Viruses: Rotavirus, Hepatitis A & E, Astrovirus and Poliovirus

Protozoans: Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Entamoeba

The above is not a comprehensive list of waterborne microbes. Most of the above-mentioned microbes are commonly associated with gastroenteritis resulting in diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramping.

Two Ways to Remove Bacteria from Your Water

Step 1

Well shocking with chemicals is a common practice. Unfortunately, this method is only a temporary fix, and the well must be continually tested to ensure bacteria hasn't returned.

Step 2

Installing a UV water disinfection system monitors the water 24/7 against 99.99% of viruses and 99.9999% of bacteria.

Top-Selling UV Water Disinfection System

Viqua D4 Premium UV Water Treatment System

The VIQUA D4 Premium features the compact footprint and advanced lamp/chamber technology of the D4 with an updated LCD controller powered by UV MAX Trojan. The new LCD controller simultaneously displays total UV lamp life remaining, support information, and lamp replacement reminders to help make sure your water is always safe. Capable of 100-240V, 50-60Hz. Learn more >

Sold out

What is Coliform Bacteria in Well Water?

If your well tests positive for coliform bacteria, it may signal that other disease-causing organisms (pathogens) could be in the water.

The presence of some coliform bacteria indicates that fecal matter or sewage waste may be present. A UV water sterilizer is the best way to protect your household from coliform and other bacteria. UV light works 24/7, and is a safe, economical, chemical-free way to treat your well water.

Learn more about how UV water filtration works to achieve bacterial removal.

How do I know if My Well Has Total Coliforms, Fecal Coliforms, or E. Coli?

For an indication of the bacterial contamination conditions of your water supply, a total coliform bacteria test should be conducted. Testing is the only reliable way to know if your water is safe. Those on wells should test for coliform at least once per year and late spring or early summer is the best time to test. If a test comes back positive for bacteria, you should treat (by chemical shocking or UV water sterilizer) and test again.

    1. Total coliforms include bacteria found in water, soil and in human or animal waste.
    2. Fecal coliforms are the group of total coliforms found specifically in the gut and feces of warm-blooded animals. Testing for fecal coliform is considered a more accurate indication of human or animal waste than total coliforms test.
    3. E. coli is the main species of the fecal coliform group and is considered to be the coliform species bacteria that best indicates presence of fecal pollution and the possible pathogens. 

What Contaminants are in Your Water?

US Water infrastructure expansion
$335 Billion Infrastructure Needed

The EPA says that over $335 Billion is needed over the next decade for drinking water infrastructure in the U.S.

Chemical in water
60,000 Chemicals in Use

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, out of the 60,000 chemicals used in the U.S, only 91 of them are regulated by the Safe Water Drinking Act.

UV light kills 99.99% of bacteria
99.99% Bacteria Killed by UV Light

UV water disinfection is a safe, chemical-free way to treat water. UV light can kill or inactivate 99.99% of harmful bacteria and viruses.

US water main breaks
240,000 Water Main Breaks

An estimated 240,000 water main breaks happen in the U.S. each year, causing the loss of clean water to homes and "boil water advisories" issued.

Should I Worry About Bacteria if I'm on City Water?

Most municipal water suppliers treat bacteria using chlorine and/or UV light. Yet some households on "city water" still choose to install a water disinfection system to provide a final barrier of protection for their family. When water pressure drops from a water main breaks or electrical power is lost at the water treatment plant, standard water treatment methods can fail. The city or municipal supplier issues a boil water advisory to all customers. Those who have installed a UV water disinfection system do not need to boil their water.


What are the Dangers of Bacteria and Viruses in Water?

The following are some pathogens or organisms that could be present in your water:

  • Viruses that cause hepatitis or polio
  • Protozoa that cause dysentery
  • Bacteria that cause vomiting and diarrhea

Can Reverse Osmosis Remove Bacteria from Water?

Reverse Osmosis technology is not designed to remove bacteria, as membrane deterioration can occur due to these living organisms. Bacteria removal is best achieved with a UV water sterilizer system. We highly recommend pairing a whole-house UV water sterilizer system (installed at your home's water point of entry), with a Reverse Osmosis drinking water system installed under the kitchen sink

Best UV Water Sterilizers for Well Water

Sold out
VIQUA IHS22-D4 UV Water Treatment System
  • The Viqua IHS22-D4 inclues two integrated prefilters to improve the taste and odor of your water.
  • LED Status system indicator.
  • All-in-one UV solution boasting added layers of water filtration and treatment.
  • Safeguards ALL the water coming into your home.

Sold out
  • Compact, yet powerful design treats water with UV light, plus includes an
  • Integrated pre-filter that can remove sediment, dirt and rust for improved taste.
  • Includes a lamp replacement timer.
  • Proven UV system with premium-quality parts at a value price.
  • Treats up to 9 gpm, perfect for a home with 1-3 bathrooms.

Top-Selling UV Water Filter Systems

Viqua VIQUA VH410-F20 Model 18 GPM Combo UV System VH410-F20-
  • Economical UV Treatment

  • Lamp Life LED Display

  • 9 gpm UV for Small Home

Sold out
Viqua VIQUA D4 Model 12 GPM UV System - 650694-R 650694-R-
  • Color LCD Screen

  • Lamp Replacement Timer

  • 12 gpm Monitored UV
Sold out
  • Includes 5-Mic Pre-Filter

  • Lamp Life LED Display

  • 9 GPM Water Treatment

Sold out

Answers To Your Most Common Questions

Air Gap vs. Non-Air Gap RO Faucet

What's the difference between an “Air Gap” faucet and a “Non-Air Gap” faucet? Which one should you use with your reverse osmosis filter system?
Read More>

Advantages & Disadvantages of RO

Is reverse osmosis filtered water worth it? Are RO replacement filters expensive? Let's explore the pros and cons of Reverse Osmosis filtration.
Read More>

Benefits of UV Water Disinfection

Treating water with Ultraviolet (UV) light is one of the MOST effective ways to treat waterborne microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses...
Read More>

Explore Other System Types