How to Clean Drinking Water of Bacteria

How to Clean Drinking Water of Bacteria

How to Clean Drinking Water of Bacteria, Water is one of the most valuable resources on the planet. Water is often exposed to bacteria as it flows through rivers, burrows through the earth into underground aquifers, or rests in lakes.

In fact, waterborne diseases were to blame for a staggering number of deaths prior to the development of residential and municipal water disinfection. Lack of access to clean water causes tragic, avoidable deaths in many developing nations.

Fears of bacteria in water have diminished as more people rely on water from city distributors. However, there is still a real risk of bacteria in their water for private well owners. And those who take water from sources that are not sterile.

Waterborne bacteria and pathogens can be removed from water by careful testing. Proper water filtration, and effective disinfection, protect you and your home from disease.

How to Clean Drinking Water of Bacteria

What kinds of bacteria are present in water?

While various microbiological organisms can live in water; bacteria such as E. coli and protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium are very common. Ones that are most frequently of concern are coli, shigella, and salmonella.

Viruses like the rotavirus and the norovirus can also be transported by water. Water is a versatile solvent. Absorbs everything in its journey from rainwater through the earth to the aquifer, including dissolved salts, organic matter, and mineral deposits.

Many waterborne pathogens can enter our water supplies, through feces and dead animals that have decomposed in the soil.

While not all bacteria found in water are harmful, many of them can make your water moldy. Like algae or the smell of soil that sticks. Simply by improving the quality of the water you and your family drink will be beneficial to eradicate this bacteria.

Typhoid and other waterborne diseases that plagued Western civilization in the early 20th century have been greatly reduced. This is thanks to modern water treatment techniques such as chlorination and ultraviolet disinfection.

To ensure that the water they drink is safe to drink and free from harmful pathogens. Those who use private wells or draw water from natural sources should be very careful and use water disinfection.

Unlike a municipal distributor, private wells are not held to the same stringent government standards for water quality. To ensure that they know what is in their water and that they take proactive action to keep themselves and their families safe. Well owners should monitor their wells vigilantly and regularly test the water.

Typical bacteria discovered in red in water

One of the main causes of waterborne illness in the United States and the rest of the world is a microscopic parasite known as Giardia. If you contract giardia, it will live in your intestines and cause the illness giardiasis. Constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea are symptoms of giardia.

The most typical place where Giardia is found is in private well water. Giardia gets into the water via human and animal waste. Flooding or rainwater inundation is more likely to occur in a shallow well. Animal waste from the soil may enter wells through rainfall.

Giardia infestations

Giardia infestations are more common in wells close to farms because agricultural runoff from sheep or cows can introduce the parasite to the water. The parasite can also be transmitted by wild animals such as deer, muskrats, and beavers.

Giardia infections can also occur in wells that have been contaminated by septic system failure or overflowing sewage systems. Furthermore, there is a higher chance that the water will contain Giardia if the well has been submerged in floodwater for a long time. Giardia has been found to be able to endure long periods of time in extremely cold waters, according to ccording to studies. Cr

Similar to Giardia

Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that is commonly found in water sources all over the world. In fact, the two most prevalent waterborne parasites that cause disease are Giardia and Cryptosporidium (commonly referred to as simply “Crypto”).

Human intestines can harbor the cryptosporidium bacteria, which can lead to the illness known as cryptosporidiosis. Diarrhea, dehydration, fever, nausea, and weight loss are all symptoms of this minor digestive illness.

This infection can spread to additional digestive and respiratory tract regions in people with weakened immune systems or pre-existing medical conditions. Cryptosporidiosis can become a chronic condition with serious health repercussions when it is contracted by people with weak or weakened immune systems.

Crypto, like Giardia, enters private wells via rain and floodwaters. Well water can become contaminated with cryptoparasites from feces from wild animals or runoff from manure used for agricultural purposes.


Cryptosporidium is more likely to be found in wells that have recently been bored or are shallower. The parasite is enclosed in a robust, defenseless shell. This strengthens Crypto’s resistance to conventional chlorination disinfection and enables it to survive for an extended period of time outside the body.

Due to the cyst’s size, other methods of disinfection like distillation and ultraviolet light, as well as any size reduction smaller than one micron, are certified for cyst removal.

E. coli

E. coli, also known as Escherichia coli, is a type of bacteria that can be found in the intestines of healthy humans and animals worldwide. The majority of E. Although most strains of E. coli bacteria are completely safe to consume, a small number of dangerous ones can be fatal.

The strain, known as O157:H7, was discovered in cow intestines. Due to this, undercooked ground beef and raw milk consumption are frequently linked to E. coli outbreaks. E., however, plants, vegetables, and water are all contaminated by the coli bacteria.

E. coli manure exposed to spinach and lettuce When consumed raw, meat from coli-infected cows can contaminate humans with the illness. Furthermore, the dangerous E can be spread by agricultural runoff, rainwater, and floods. E. coli contamination of lakes, rivers, and private wells

When ingested, E. In the small intestine’s lining, coli creates a potent toxin. Vomiting and severe stomach cramps are brought on by this. 5% to 10% of E. coli cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a much more complicated and dangerous disease, arise from coli cases.


In the most severe cases, HUS can result in kidney failure or permanent kidney damage. Even though there have been a few instances where municipal water supplies, which are most at risk of containing E. coli, were found to contain it, people who live in rural areas and use personal wells are more likely to have E. coli in their water.

Due to the lack of regulations surrounding wells and the increased irrigation and agriculture in rural areas, there is a significantly increased risk that this nasty bacterium will find its way into your well and contaminate your o your well and

Naturally occurring in freshwater streams, lakes, and other surface waters, legionella are pathogenic bacteria that prefer warmer water temperatures. Legionnaires’ disease is an illness that resembles pneumonia and is brought on by inhaling Legionella.

Additionally, Pontiac Fever, a mild flu-like illness, is brought on by it. Warm water encourages Legionella growth, which can make it more challenging to eliminate with chemical disinfectants like chlorine.

Legionella has a high infectious potential when it is turned into a mist. Legionella has been known to spread through hot tubs, showers, baths, humidifiers, and air conditioning units that serve large buildings.

Consuming water contaminated bacteria

Consuming water contaminated with Legionella bacteria can also cause Legionnaire’s disease, though it is less common. Although most people recover quickly with the help of antibiotics, illnesses brought on by legionella can be fatal when inhaled or consumed. Numerous symptoms of pneumonia, including fever, coughing, headaches, muscle soreness, and fatigue, are also displayed by Legionnaire’s , are also displ

Shigellosis is a highly contagious diarrheal disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Shigellosis is most frequently spread among children in schools, daycare facilities, or public swimming pools, but it can also infect adults who drink unfiltered, untreated water. If contracted, the illness results in severe diarrhea, fever, stomachaches, and cramping in the abdomen.

In natural water sources like lakewater, rivers, and streams, Shigella is frequently present. This is just one of the many reasons that consuming water from a natural source, also known as “raw water” by some supporters, can be harmful to your health. However, the bacteria can also be found in shallow private wells.

Shigella can enter your home’s well through storm runoff, agricultural waste, malfunctioning sewage systems or septic tanks, and more. Shigella is spread into water sources by human and animal waste, like many other waterborne bacteria.

Shigellosis is typically acquired recreationally, such as by swimming in a lake or pool that isn’t well maintained, whereas shigellosis presents a nasty problem for many well-meaning owners.

Learn about pool maintenance and testing procedures.

How can bacteria be removed from water?

Through the use of chlorine, UV disinfection, and ozonation, bacteria can be eliminated from water. Municipalities frequently use chlorination to get rid of bacteria in the drinking water. In order to “shock” their wells and get rid of any bacteria, many well owners also use chlorine.

Homeowners who rely on well water, as well as numerous businesses and commercial applications that use well water or water that could be contaminated by microorganisms, all frequently use UV disinfection systems.

Ozone water treatment

Ozone water treatment is also used in homes and in commercial settings like kitchens, where high-purity ozonated water is used to wash fruits and vegetables.

Bacteria can also be removed from water through distillation if you’re looking for a point-of-use method to get rid of viruses and other pathogens. Larger, commercial water distillers are also available, but manual countertop models are more common.

Water can also be cleaned of bacteria by vigorously boiling it for at least one full minute. This is why cities issue boil-water advisories when water pipelines burst or are otherwise compromised.

Homeowners are told to boil any water they plan to use for drinking, cooking, or cleaning before using it during a boil order. By doing this, exposure to any bacteria or viruses that the water may have picked up during the disturbance is avoided.

Giardia and Cryptosporidium are two cysts that can be removed mechanically by filtering. A one-micron filter, for instance, cannot allow for the passage of Giardia. However, you shouldn’t rely solely on mechanical filtration if you use well water or water that is otherwise contaminated by microorganisms.

To ensure your safety and the safety of your home against waterborne illnesses, the water should undergo complete disinfection. Any filter you do use to reduce or remove cysts should be NSF Standard 53 certified or independently tested against the same standards.

This certification attests to the filter’s successful testing and approval to reduce or remove contaminants that could be harmful to your health.

UV Sanitation

UV purification is one of the most well-liked, common, and dependable methods for treating domestic bacteria. The DNA of bacteria is neutralized by ultraviolet light, which prevents them from growing in water.

As a result, the bacteria are rendered harmless and completely unable to infect you or your family. UV water purification systems don’t produce any waste water, need little maintenance, are very effective, and don’t add any chemicals to the water as they clean it. As a result, they are frequently cited as one of the most effective methods for removing biological contaminants from water.

Water enters the germicidal ultraviolet light chamber of the UV purification system and flows into the system. Since water coming into direct contact with electricity would harm the system, a thin quartz glass sleeve keeps water away from the UV lamp.

The quartz glass sleeve acts as a transparent barrier through which the lamp’s ultraviolet light passes. Protective o-rings at the system’s termination seal the lamp and sleeve, making sure water cannot pass through.

Tiny mercury balls inside the lamp

Tiny mercury balls inside the lamp are what give the ultraviolet lamp its germicidal effects. The mercury lamps emit UV-C rays as heat is applied to the lamp, weakening the bacteria in the water and deactivating any microorganisms present.

About 9,000 hours, or about a year, are spent disinfecting with UV lamps. Now that the lamp has been changed and the quartz sleeve has been cleaned, the system is prepared to keep protecting your water supply from pathogenic invaders. You will be informed when the lamp is getting close to the end of its useful life by a sensor that is integrated into the UV system’s ballast.

UV systems are perfect for a variety of homes and uses. Small cottages, vacation homes, and beach houses that draw water from wells are all excellent examples of buildings that make use of UV disinfection systems.

They are among the most dependable and popular options for disinfecting the water in a whole-house residential setting. They can be utilized in RVs as well. Many off-road adventurers may come across hazardous water sources that might be contaminated with bacteria and pathogens. In most RVs, a compact UV system fits perfectly.

In contrast, a portable UV purifier like the SteriPEN can be used to thoroughly disinfect smaller amounts of water if this is not practical for your situation.

UV purification is another common practice in many businesses and industries for removing contaminants from water. Sterilized water is necessary for manufacturing facilities, laboratories, and hospitals. Breweries, hydroponic farms, greenhouse agriculture, and hospitality services like hotels and food and beverage applications frequently use large-scale, industrial UV systems to purify water.

Learn more about UV purification’s operation. Get maintenance advice for your UV system.

UV Disinfection System for Neo-Pure NP5-15, 15 or your UV system.

Water treatment facilities all over the world use chlorine to disinfect water supplies and get rid of waterborne pathogens in drinking water. Chlorine is a widely used disinfection option because it is simple to add in large quantities, can be precisely measured, and behaves predictably.

Chlorine damages bacteria’s chemical bonds at the molecular level when it comes into contact with them. Water reacts with chlorine to create a weak acid.


By penetrating the negative charge of bacterial cell walls, this acid, also known as hypochlorous acid, kills the microorganism from the inside out. It is safe to eat in small, controlled doses. Water treated with chlorine does have a chemical aftertaste, but a carbon filter can easily make the water taste better.

Shock chlorination uses this conventional water treatment method on a per-private-well basis. You will be instructed to shock your well whenever a new well is bored, a well pump is replaced, a well is cleaned, or a well pump is repaired or maintained.

The addition of a significant amount of a concentrated chlorine solution is referred to as “shocking.” Shock chlorination is advised after a severe weather event, such as a flood or storm surge, to remove any bacteria that may have entered your well.

Chlorination will assist in eradicating any bacteria that may have grown in number during the prolonged inactivity of a well that has been stagnant or unused. Additionally, chlorine can aid in the removal of bacterial iron from water supplies.

Despite its high effectiveness

Shock chlorination cannot completely guarantee bacterial eradication over the course of a year. To keep viruses and bacteria out of the water, it must be done periodically. Installing a UV system complements diligent well maintenance practices like chlorination because the UV will always keep the water free of bacteria.

Chlorine is strong, and shock chlorination can cause damage to other water filtration equipment. A more delicately chlorinated solution can be used to clean a well pressure tank, but those with rubber diaphragms may be harmed by the strong chlorine concentration.

After the well has been chlorinated, these should be avoided. Similar damage can be done to a reverse osmosis system’s thin film membrane by prolonged exposure to chlorine. Make sure to bypass the RO system after shock chlorinating a well until the process is finished.

Smaller batches of water can also be disinfected with chlorine at once. For the purpose of purifying one liter of water at a time, chlorine tablets are sold. For instance, you can add these tablets to spring water to make it safe to drink if you’re out hunting, camping, or fishing and need fresh, potable water.

After a few hours of exposure

After a few hours of exposure, the chlorine will have cleared the water of all bacteria, viruses, and cysts like giardia. Although this is not a useful use for the home, these chlorine tablets are a great addition to any off-road or wilderness adventure. In the event of an emergency or a boil water advisory, they can also be useful.

Investigate the removal of iron from well water. Find out more about the operation of activated  removal of

A potent and exceptional water disinfectant is ozone. Ozone is a powerful germicide that can quickly and effectively eliminate any waterborne viruses and bacteria. On contact, ozone oxidizes the bacteria and protozoa, just like chlorine does. The microorganisms’ cell walls are penetrated by the ozone, which causes structural disruption.

Contrary to UV disinfection

Contrary to UV disinfection, neither reduced flow rate nor prolonged contact time are necessary. To make sure that it has completely destroyed all the pathogens present in your water supply, chlorine must sit in a well for at least one night after shocking it with the chemical. Ozone, which is frequently found in homes as ozonated faucets, works quickly.

Inorganic matter and micro-pollutants like pesticides and herbicides can also be easily removed by ozone. Other water contaminants like iron, sulfur, and manganese can also be removed by ozone.

Low concentrations of ozone

Typically between 3 and 5 ppm, are dissolved into your water by a generator (or ozonator) during ozone water treatment. Ozone (O3) is an oxygen compound made up of an additional oxygen molecule that is not tightly bound.

Because of its exceptional oxidation abilities, ozone can rapidly and efficiently destroy bacteria as well as organic pollutants like iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide. When lightning strikes, ozone is naturally produced in our stratosphere and on the earth.

Through electrical discharges that produce O3 molecules and release them into the water, these ozonators mimic this process.

It has been demonstrated that ozone disinfects water much more quickly and effectively than even traditional chlorination. However, ozone is unstable. Ozone is difficult to use for water treatment on a city-wide scale because it degrades over the course of about 30 minutes.

The long stability of chlorine and chloramines makes them a more obvious choice because the house at the very end of the municipal water main needs to receive water that has been as thoroughly disinfected as the house closest to the treatment plant.

Both in homes and in commercial kitchens, ozone is most effective when used at the point of use. Ozone is perfect for washing produce because it eliminates ethylene gas, which makes fruits and vegetables wither away. Additionally, it eliminates germs from silverware, plates, and glasses, giving your dishes a deeper clean.

CMost importantly

Ozone has the ability to instantly kill over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and waterborne pathogens.

A more drastic treatment option is needed to get rid of the issue’s root if you’re using a private water source with high total coliform levels or a lot of bacteria. However, installing an ozone faucet at home is a remarkably effective way to guarantee that the water you use for drinking, cooking, and cleaning has been completely disinfected.

Ozone is an excellent way to treat water for ice makers. Within the machine, ice makers can serve as havens for mold, yeast, and bacteria. This may result in pink slime coating the machine’s bottom, discoloring the ice, and putting consumers at risk of bacterial exposure.

All water entering the ice machine is treated by ozone ice machine sanitation systems. This guarantees that O3 has completely neutralized any bacteria in the water and treated all of the ice the machine produces.

As a result, the ice, the machine and its internal compartments, and even the air in the ice machine’s storage bin are all kept in pristine condition. Ozone ice treatment will significantly reduce the time needed to clean ice makers.

Ice Machine Oxidice Ozone Sanitation System, CD385, $460.22


A point-of-use water treatment device called a water distiller can get rid of microorganisms like bacteria and viruses from small batches of water at once.

Distillation is a method of water purification that imitates the hydrologic cycle of the planet. Water evaporates from the surfaces of lakes, oceans, and rivers as part of the hydrologic cycle. Any trace contaminants, such as salts, metals, and particulate matter, that it had accumulated during its transition from a liquid to a gaseous state are thrown away.

It cools and condenses as it ascends into the atmosphere, creating clouds. It then precipitates as rain or snow and returns to the earth in a pure, soft, slightly acidic state.

This procedure is reenacted on a smaller scale in your kitchen by water distillers. The water distiller’s boiling chamber is filled with water. When a heating element turns on, the water is boiled until it completely transforms from a liquid state into steam.

The stream enters cooling coils after ascending through a vented roof in the boiling chamber. The steam is chilled at this point, causing it to turn back into liquid, and as it leaves the distiller, it passes through a carbon post-filter. After that, the distilled and purified water is collected in a glass or plastic jug and made ready for use.

Distillation is incredibly effective at getting rid of all kinds of contaminants, including bacteria. Dissolved solids, organics, and ions are retained in the boiling chamber during the distillation process because they are unable to transform into a gaseous state.

Because viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms

Because viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms cannot survive boiling temperatures, the distiller’s high temperatures completely destroy them. VOCs are the only contaminants that can change from a liquid to a gas, and the carbon post-filter in the distiller easily gets rid of them.

In the medical industry, research facilities, and for automotive applications, water is treated using water distillation, which is incredibly effective.

A water distiller should not be your only option, though, if you are worried that bacteria may be present in your drinking water source (such as a private well). Water distillers are excellent at creating water with a high level of purity, but they can only do so very slowly and in very small batches.

One gallon of water can be distilled using a countertop water distiller in 4 to 6 hours. They also consume a tremendous amount of energy because the cooling coils and heating element need to be powered throughout the entire distillation process. Additionally, you want to keep bacteria out of the plumbing in your house or place of business.

You don’t want to bathe or take a shower in contaminated water, either. This includes obvious examples like your ice maker, refrigerator, and kitchen sink.

You have a good chance of unintentionally ingesting bacteria this way. Although a water distiller is an excellent point-of-use solution for eradicating bacteria, a whole-house system (such as UV and shocking your well) should be used before the distiller.

Learn more about the operation of water distillers. Determine whether drinking distilled water is actually safe.

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Reverse osmosis: Does it get rid of bacteria?

Reverse osmosis can eliminate bacteria and other organisms, but it shouldn’t be the main method for doing so. No claims of bacterial reduction are made by reverse osmosis systems. All reverse osmosis systems, in fact, make it clear in their specifications sheets that they should only be used with potable and microbially safe water.

Although most bacteria cannot fit through the tiny pores of the reverse osmosis membrane, they should be removed before they enter the system to protect it.

On the RO membrane, bacteria could grow and multiply. Additionally, bacteria can cause pinhole leaks in the membrane, resulting in membrane degradation, decreased performance, and a reduction in TDS.

A residential reverse osmosis system’s o-rings are also not made to stop bacteria from migrating, so there’s a chance that bacteria will get back into your water supply. Although reverse osmosis is a very effective and thorough method of filtering water, the water should first be cleaned with ozonation or UV light before entering your RO system.

Your system and membrane will last longer as a result, and you’ll also be protected from viruses and other waterborne pathogens.

Find out more about the operation of reverse osmosis. Is a whole-house reverse osmosis system necessary for your home?

FAQ: How to Clean Drinking Water of Bacteria

Can water be filtered to remove bacteria?

The only water filtration system that can effectively eliminate harmful bacteria is a reverse osmosis system. Chlorinating or using ultraviolet radiation to disinfect the water is the quickest way to get rid of dangerous bacteria.

How is bacteria from drinking water removed?

The only disinfectants that can effectively kill microorganisms during water treatment and maintain the quality of the water as it flows from the treatment plant to the consumer’s tap are chlorine and chlorine-based compounds.

What is the most popular method for eradicating bacteria from water?

The process of adding chlorine to drinking water supplies is the most popular way to disinfect water. As the water travels from the treatment facility to the consumer’s tap, chlorine continues to effectively kill waterborne bacteria and viruses.

How is potable water purified?

Boiling water will make it safe. If the water is cloudy, let it settle before skimming off the sediment to reveal the clear water. Disinfect with iodine or unscented household chlorine bleach (effective against the majority of but not all harmful viruses or bacteria). Filtering.

Some of the most popular techniques for filtering bacteria and viruses from water include ultraviolet (UV) treatment, chlorine and chloramine disinfection, and mechanical or adsorptive filtration.
How much water can bacteria withstand?

For at least 30 weeks, the vast majority of the tested gram-negative bacteria fared just as well in water as they did in PBS. But there are two gram-positive bacterial populations [G(+)]: L. staph and M. monocytogenes. Compared to PBS, aureus declined more quickly in water.

What are the three techniques for drinking water disinfection?

Water is treated with disinfectants to eliminate pathogenic microorganisms. The “Water Treatment Rule,” which mandates the disinfection of public water systems, allows for the disinfection of groundwater sources. The four main techniques for disinfection are chlorination, ozone, ultraviolet light, and chloramines.

How can my well water be naturally purified?

Yes, boiling well water is the most reliable way to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Heat the water to a full, swirling boil before using it to ensure its safety. Before using the water, let the swirling boil continue for at least a minute. The boiled water should be kept in the refrigerator in a tidy, covered container.

What signs of bacteria in the water are there?

Diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, nausea, headaches, fever, exhaustion, and occasionally even death are among the symptoms. Disease-causing microorganisms in drinking water are more likely to make adults, children, infants, and elderly people ill or kill them.

What occurs if you drink water that contains bacteria?

the presence of E. coli and other coliform bacteria coli (a type of coliform bacteria) in drinking water raises the possibility that the water contains pathogens that can occasionally result in death as well as diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, nausea, headaches, fever, and fatigue.

What eliminates viruses and bacteria in water?

Iodine- or chlorine-based disinfection is highly effective at eliminating viruses, as is chlorine dioxide-based disinfection. Iodine, chlorine, or chlorine dioxide-based disinfection all effectively eliminate viruses.

What is the most secure method to eliminate bacteria?

One method for eradicating pathogenic bacteria in your home is temperature. Boiling water that might be contaminated with bacteria and other microbes is one way to accomplish this. ensuring that food is prepared to a safe internal temperature.

What is the healthiest method of water filtration?

Boiling is the best way to purify water if the bacteria that cause disease are present in your tap water.

How can toxins be removed from tap water?

All drinking water should be filtered in order to maintain health and prevent disease. Granular-activated carbon block filters, which are advised by the EPA and remove the majority of harmful chemicals and metals, are the best type of filter. Bottles made of steel or glass, not plastic, are the best for transporting filtered water.

Is filtered water preferable to boiled water?

In comparison to boiled water, filtered water is generally healthier and offers a number of additional advantages. In order to help you supply clean water to any or all areas of your home, Aquasana offers a wide range of water filtration solutions. Consider installing a whole-house water filter to get filtered water from every faucet.