Your water is fine, right? It looks clear when it comes out of the faucet, and it can even sit a while in a glass without taking on any odd colorations or odors. By all appearances, it is perfectly potable—but appearances aren’t always accurate. Your water could be harboring any of these five bacteria, and you would never even know it when you see or taste that cool, refreshing glass of water.

What’s hiding in your water?

One of the ways you can tell that there is something off with your water is by appearance and taste. If there is a sudden change in either, it’s a good idea to have your water tested to see what has caused the change. But what if your water doesn’t change in appearance or taste? It may look safe, but it can actually have even more cause for concern. Here are the five types of bacteria that you may not be able to detect in your own water.

1) Nitrates

Nitrates are tasteless, odorless, and colorless, and they are one of the most common groundwater contaminants. They typically leach into drinking water from fertilizer, septic, and manure runoff, so you should be particularly cognisant of your nitrate levels if you live near a farm. Nitrates are of the highest concern for new mothers and pregnant women, as they have been linked to methemoglobinemia, or “blue baby” disease. While they don’t appear to cause problems in older children or adults, nitrate presence can also be an indicator of other contaminants.

2) Coliforms

Total coliforms are bacteria that live in the intestines of warm-blooded animals, so their presence means your water is prone to surface infiltration and sewage contamination. Coliform presence does not mean E. Coli presence, but it does mean conditions are favorable for E. Coli bacteria and other pathogens, so you should look into having the problem resolved if their presence is detected.

3) E. Coli

  1. Coli bacteria are found in the intestines of humans and warm-blooded animals, and their presence in your water indicates contamination by sewage. E. Coli can be fatal, so it is important to ensure your water is clear of contamination.

4) Pathogens

Pathogens like salmonella, Citrobacter, proteus, edwardsiella, and klebsiella could all be present in your water supply without being detectable by appearance or taste. Each can lead to potentially critical illnesses, especially when consumed by infants or elderly individuals.

5) Heterotrophic bacteria

Heterotrophic bacteria describe microorganisms (yeast, moulds, bacteria) that consume organic carbon rather than sunlight. They are common in drinking water and don’t cause health problems in humans on their own, but in high levels, they can indicate the presence of more dangerous bacteria, like legionella or E. Coli, and they can even lead to corrosion or slime growth in your pipes.

How can you ensure your water is safe for you and your family to drink?

The best way is to ensure clean water is to have your water tested every six months for the problems that are most common, or most likely to cause contamination. AquaKnow makes testing your water fast, efficient, and affordable. Don’t take chances. Order a water test today.