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Although the total coliform bacterial count has its shortcomings, it is our best indicator of the health hazards associated with drinking water that we have today. Some of these defects can be corrected by additional bacterial tests to determine interference or identify nonconliform lactose fermenting organisms. Occasionally drinking water samples containing viruses have given negative tests for coliform bacteria when tested by the standard methods. Concentration methods used to recover viruses in water samples have shown that the coliform organisms were present but in an insufficient number to be indicated by the routine standard methods.
Suggestions are given for the search for a better method to detect bacterial pollution in drinking water.
bacteria, water, coliform bacteria
Department of Microbiology and Institute of Water Research, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.