Tag Archive: bacteria in potable water


Ron Perrin Water Technologies Owner

Ron Perrin in Washington D.C. on 10-14-14 to attend EPA meeting

Washington D.C. 10-14-14

Washington D.C. 10-14-14


On October 15th 2014, the EPA held a public meeting in regards to Distribution System Storage Facility Inspection and Cleaning. I attended that meeting in person to express my opinion on this issue. During the meeting a couple of surprising things were revealed. Many were under the impression that water tanks and towers were already being inspected during Sanitary Surveys performed by state regulators, when in fact most, if not all, state agencies do not allow their employees to climb to the top of water tanks and towers.  The few states that climbed the towers in the past did not do an internal inspection of the facility.

A survey had been sent to state regulators to get their opinion on this issue. About half thought a regulation would be a good idea, the other half thought a paper on guidance would be sufficient. I went away from the meeting more convinced than ever that there should be a national regulation requiring all potable water storage tanks to be inspected and cleaned on a regular schedule.

The webinar is over but the EPA is still taking comments until the end of 2014. If you would like to make a comment on this issue, please send an e-mail to:  SFIWebinar@cadmusgroup.com.  Or take the poll below and I will send in the results at the end of the year. This is a chance to let your opinion be known!

My customers tell me they need less chlorine to meet water quality standards after I remove the sediment from their water storage tanks and towers. Sediment enters the tank one particle at a time and eventually accumulates enough for bacteria, protozoa and even viruses to use it as a habitat to grow and become a serious health problem. If proper inspections are not done to determine sediment levels, corrective action is seldom, if ever, taken. My opinion is that potable water storage facilities should be inspected inside and out every year, and a cleaning program to ensure tanks and towers are cleaned every 3 to 5 years should be in place on all tanks. What do you think? Take THE POLL BELOW and also visit http://www.tankdiver.us.

10-14-14 Washington D.C. Mall

10-14-14 Washington D.C. Mall








This is important!  Please SHARE OUR POLL!



Topic: Distribution System Storage Facility Inspection and Cleaning

Background: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water announces a public meeting and webinar on distribution system storage facility inspection and cleaning. The purpose of the meeting and webinar is to gather input and information from the public and stakeholders on the appropriate frequency of distribution system water storage facility inspection and cleaning, current practices, and the risk management approaches that can be taken to assure that inspection, cleaning and corrective action occur as necessary to help maintain facility integrity and finished water quality. The presenters and panelists will provide background information concerning storage facility inspection and cleaning, existing state programs and available guidance documents. For additional background information, please refer to the Federal Register notice published on Thursday, September 4, 2014 (79 FR 52647).

Public Comments: This meeting is open to the public. EPA encourages public input and will allocate time on the agenda for public comment. To ensure adequate time for public involvement, individuals or organizations interested in making a statement should mention their interest when they register. All presentation materials and statements should be emailed to SFIWebinar@cadmusgroup.com by October 8, 2014, so that the information can be incorporated into the webinar as appropriate. Only one person should present a statement on behalf of a group or organization, and statements will be limited to five minutes. Availability to make public comments will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis in the time available. Additional comments from attendees who did not pre-register to make comments will be taken if time permits. Comments, written statements, data or information can also be sent to SFIWebinar@cadmusgroup.com after the public meeting and webinar.


  1. Background

In the Federal Register notice for the proposed Revisions to the Total Coliform Rule (75 FR

40926, July 14, 2010), the EPA requested comment on the value and cost of periodic distribution

system storage tank inspection and cleaning. The EPA received comments regarding unsanitary

conditions and contamination that can be found in storage facilities, which are not routinely

inspected and cleaned, including breaches and accumulation of sediment, animals, insects and

other contaminants. Some commenters suggested the need for a Federal regulation requiring

systematic inspection and cleaning because the existing practices are not successful in all cases.

Others suggested that regular sanitary surveys conducted by States and the adherence to existing

industry guidance could resolve such issues. The comments can be reviewed in the docket for the

rule at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0878-0283. This

meeting and webinar and the subsequent opportunity to submit comments are intended to collect

more data and information about the frequency of distribution system water storage facility

Page of 4

inspection and cleaning and the need for more or better risk management approaches.

Dated: August 25, 2014.

Eric Burneson,

Acting Director,

Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water.


[FR Doc. 2014-21073 Filed 09/03/2014 at 8:45 am; Publication Date: 09/04/2014]

With countless billions of bacteria in the world certain strains of E. coli are among the worst threats to public water supplies.

In general the term “E. coli” refers to a group of bacteria that were discovered in 1885 by Dr. Theodor Escherich. Originally the bacteria was called “Bacterium coli” and found responsible for diarrhea in infants.  Snce then over 700 sterotypes of E. coli have been discovered.  Most forms do not cause disease in humans and some are even beneficial.

About.com has a very informative web site on “E. coli” they reported the following:

“The E. coli that are responsible for the numerous reports of contaminated foods and beverages are those that produce Shiga toxin, so called because the toxin is virtually identical to that produced byShigella dysenteria type 1. [4]  The best-known and also most notorious E. coli bacteria that produce Shiga toxin is E. coliO157:H7. [1, 4] Shiga toxin–producing E. coli (STEC) cause approximately 100,000 illnesses, 3,000 hospitalizations, and 90 deaths annually in the United States.  [39, 54]  Most reported STEC infections in the United States are caused by E. coli O157:H7, with an estimated 73,000 cases occurring each year. [39] A study published in 2005 estimated the annual cost of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses to be $405 million (in 2003 dollars), which included $370 million for premature deaths, $30 million for medical care, and $5 million for lost productivity.”

Source: http://www.about-ecoli.com/

I have found a few post from 2009 Officials in Hollis, Oklahoma were distributing bottled water after positive tests in the public water system.   Baytown, Texas and Janesville, Wisconsin were also put on boiled water orders after positive test for E. coli.

More recently the city of Kingston, Ga. found out a drinking well contaminated with E. coli is the cause of residents in the area getting sick, according to CBS Atlanta News, Jan 22, 2013.

“We’ve always had problems,” resident Amanda Silvers said.

Silver recently found out from a friend that the city’s water was contaminated and has since stopped washing her dishes.

She is also only drinking bottled water, noted the article.

“It kind of makes you queasy at your stomach, like ugh, it’s just a disgusting thought,” Silvers said.

Bernice Gentry, another area resident, has been stocking up on paper plates and bottled water as well.

“I thought, ‘Oh gosh, that’s why we’ve all been sick since way before Christmas,’” Gentry said.

Read the entire article here.

I am currently looking for new cases of  PUBLIC WATER UTILITY contamination.

If you read about more recent water contamination from E-coli or any other contaminate please let me by adding a comment with a link if possible and I will keep this blog updated.

Thanks,  Ron Perrin

Oocyst – An oocyst is the thick-walled spore phase of certain protists (sporozoans), such as Cryptosporidium and Toxoplasma. This state can survive for lengthy periods outside a host and is very resistant.

I know what a Cryptosporidium spore is but I must confess this was the first time I saw Oocyst.  So I looked it up on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The results are posted above.  I am in the process of writing a book and I came accross that word in “Final Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule”.

A excerpt of the book is posted below.  I want to encorage everyone to use Wikipedia, It is a free site that I use often.  They are now taking donations to keep the site free.


Physical removal is critical to the control of Cryptosporidium because it is highly resistant to standard disinfection practices. Cryptosporidiosis, the infection caused by Cryptosporidium, may manifest itself as a severe infection that can last several weeks and may cause the death of individuals with compromised immune systems.  



Final Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule


The LT1ESWTR extends further this necessary protection from Cryptosporidium to communities of fewer than 10,000 persons.  Today’s rule for the first time establishes Cryptosporidium control requirements for systems serving less than 10,000 persons by requiring a minimum 2-log removal for Cryptosporidium. The rule also strengthens filter performance requirements to ensure 2-log Cryptosporidium removal, establishes individual filter monitoring to minimize poor performance in individual units, includes Cryptosporidium in the definition of GWUDI, and explicitly considers unfiltered system watershed control provisions.


Twelve waterborne cryptosporidiosis outbreaks have occurred at drinking water systems since 1984 (Craun, 1998; USEPA, 2000a). The largest of the known outbreaks occurred in Milwaukee and was responsible for over 400,000 illnesses and at least 50 deaths (Hoxie, et al., 1997; MacKenzie et al., 1994); other known outbreaks have occurred in smaller communities and have involved many fewer people. An incident such as a rainstorm that flushes many oocysts into the source water or causes a sanitary sewer overflow combined with a water treatment plant upset could allow a large pulse of oocysts to move past the multiple barriers of a water treatment plant.


To read more about the “Final Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule”


See the Fact Sheet at: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/mdbp/lt1eswtr_fact.html  or

For general information on the LT1ESWTR, contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline, at (800) 426-4791, or visit the EPA Safewater website, http://www.epa.gov/safewater/mdbp/lt1eswtr.html.


For copies of the Federal Registernotice of the final regulation or technical fact sheets, contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791. The Safe Drinking Water Hotline is open Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.







Tap water in 42 states is contaminated with more than 140 unregulated chemicals that lack safety standards, according to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) two-and-a-half year investigation of water suppliers’ tests of the treated tap water served to communities across the country.

In an analysis of more than 22 million tap water quality tests, most of which were required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, EWG found that water suppliers across the U.S. detected 260 contaminants in water served to the public. One hundred forty-one (141) of these detected chemicals — more than half — are unregulated; public health officials have not set safety standards for these chemicals, even though millions drink them every day.

EWG’s analysis also found over 90 percent compliance with enforceable health standards on the part of the nation’s water utilities, showing a clear commitment to comply with safety standards once they are developed. The problem, however, is EPA’s failure to establish enforceable health standards and monitoring requirements for scores of widespread tap water contaminants. Of the 260 contaminants detected in tap water from 42 states, for only 114 has EPA set enforceable health limits (called Maximum Contaminant Levels, or MCLs), and for 5 others the Agency has set non-enforceable goals called secondary standards. (EPA 2005a). The 141 remaining chemicals without health-based limits contaminate water served to 195,257,000 people in 22,614 communities in 42 states.

Read the full report Here: http://www.ewg.org/tapwater/findings.php

To date only the State of Florida has set standards for cleaning water storage tanks.  Not only should standards be set for additional contaminates I thisnk is is just as or pehaps more important that standards be set for keeping tanks clean.  At this time it is just not understood how much sediment accumulates in an average water storage tank over a few years.  That sediment becomes a habitat where bacteria and other contaminates can thrive.

Once in your tank bacteria can grow rapidly if it finds a place to hide from the treatment chemicals sent to destroy it.

The EWG’s report also points out that “90 percent compliance with enforceable health standards on the part of the nation’s water utilities, showing a clear commitment to comply with safety standards.” If standards are put in place giving water utilities a time table that water storage tanks should be cleaned and or inspected the water utilities will comply.  For the most part they or the people controling their funds do not understand the improtance of inspection & cleaning.

Even after the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) two-and-a-half year investigation of water suppliers’ tests of the treated tap water served to communities across the country.  No one looked at the effects of Sediment in the water storage tanks.  It apparently was not an issue, never thought of,  the investigation only looked at reports of what the water utilitys found in their systems.

Keeping your water storage tanks clean may be one of the most overlooked maintenance procedures in the water industry.  Out of sight and out of mind, sediment in the bottom of your water storage tanks is never seen and rarely thought of. 

In 2002 The EPA Office of Ground and Drinking Water issued a paper on distribution systems titled “Health Risk From Microbial Growth and Biofilms in Drinking Water Distribution Systems”.  See the link below to read the full report.

That report sited –

Hepatitis A is a  primary pathogen that has been documented to survive more than four months in the sediment of a potable water storage tank.  

Bacteria, protozoa, and viruses can find sediment in the floor of a water storage tank an inviting habitat.


So if the EPA knows all of this why are most water storage tanks so dirty?  Like most thisngs in comes down to MONEY.

If you live in a new progressive community the likelyhood of your water storage tanks being inspected and cleaned on a regular basis is much better than if you are in a older, smaller and les affluent community.  If regulations are put into place money would need to follow to allow ecanomically depresed communities to maintain there systems properly.

I have been inspecting and cleaning water storage tanks since 1992.  What I have seen is the more ecanomically depresed  the community is the more likely they are to need their tanks cleand.  They are also more likely to drink more tap water.  I would think that the more affluent a community the more bottled water is consumed.  So we end up with the people who need clean tap water the most getting it the least.   I have found something important to do but I cand only help a very small % on my own. The health concerns associated with sediment in the water supplies are much biger than I am.   It is bigger than papers written and published by the EPA detailing the problem. It will take the general public to be concerned and perhaps a little sikened and outraged wouldnt hurt.  It will take people like you and me making noise and getting attention on this subject before the proper action will be taken. The Mission of this blog is to make some noise on this subject.  Let me know what you think.

If you are interested in this subject there are a few things to do:

Leave a comment:  Subscribe to this blog for future updates.

The EPA has published many reports on this subject.  The work has been done to establish the problem.  Its up to us to make sure something gets done about it.


Additional referenced and papers from the EPA.







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