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Source water can be infected with a multitude of dangerous pathogens...

Microbial Contamination

Sources of microbial contaminants found in source water include, algae, fungi, mold, bacteria, viruses & prions, protzoan parasites and aquatic insect larvae. Some occur naturally while others are introduced by human activities including industrial farming, unprocessed sewage and leaking septic systems. 

Common pathogens include:

Giardia

Is a parasite that causes diarrheal illness known as giardiasis. It is typically associated with water. It is the most common pathogen in waterborne outbreaks. It can also be found in soil and food. And humans and animals are the reservoir for this pathogen. Giardia, prevention. Prevention strategies for this pathogen include source protection; filtration, coagulation, and halogenation of drinking water.

 

Cryptosporidium

A parasite that causes diarrheal illness known as crytpsporidiosis. It is typically associated with animals and humans, and it can be acquired through consuming fecally contaminated food, contact with fecally contaminated soil and water. Ionized copper, chlorine, UV, Ozonation and RO filtration with an "absolute" pore size of one micron or smaller can eliminate Cryptosporidium. 

 

Salmonella

Salmonella may be found in water sources that have been contaminated with the feces of infected humans or animals. Waste can enter the water through various ways, including sewage overflows, polluted storm water runoff, and agricultural runoff.

 

Shigella

Shigellosis is a common form of dysentery caused by the shigella bacteria. 

 

Legionella

The major source of legionella is water distribution systems in large buildings, including hotels and hospitals. Cooling towers have long been thought to be a major source for Legionella, but new data suggest that this is an overemphasized mode of transmission. Other sources include mist machines, humidifiers, whirlpool spas, and hot springs.

 

Legionnaires' disease is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia. It's caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila found in both potable and nonpotable water systems. Each year, an estimated 10,000 to 18,000 people are infected with the Legionella bacteria in the United States.

 

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is an infection caused by corkscrew-shaped bacteria called Leptospira. Signs and symptoms can range from none to mild such as headaches, muscle pains, and fevers; to severe with bleeding from the lungs or meningitis. If the infection causes the person to turn yellow, have kidney failure and bleeding, it is then known as Weil's disease. If it causes a lot of bleeding into the lungs then it is known as severe pulmonary hemorrhage syndrome. Water is contaminated by animal urine carrying the bacteria. 

Fecal Coliform Bacteria

The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in aquatic environments indicates that the water has been contaminated with the fecal material of man or other animals. At the time this occurred, the source water may have been contaminated by pathogens or disease producing bacteria or viruses that can also exist in fecal material. Some waterborne pathogenic diseases include typhoid fever, viral and bacterial gastroenteritis and hepatitis A. The presence of fecal contamination is an indicator that a potential health risk exists for individuals exposed to this water. Fecal coliform bacteria may occur in ambient water as a result of the overflow of domestic sewage or nonpoint sources of human and animal waste.

Children and the elderly are at the greatest risk to the dangers of these pathogens...

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