My Aquifer > For Private Well Owners > What do the results of this test tell me?
Bacteriological examinations are made to determine the suitability of water for drinking and food preparation uses. When a sample is reported "safe bacteriologically," it means that coliform bacteria (a group of indicator bacteria) were not found in the sample. If the sample was taken according to directions enclosed with the water sampling kit, you can be reasonably sure that the water is suitable for drinking and general domestic use.
When a sample is reported "unsafe bacteriologically," it means that coliform bacteria were found in your sample. Coliform bacteria are found in the feces of humans and other animals as well as in surface water. Their presence in groundwater (wells) shows that unfiltered or poorly-filtered surface water or near-surface waters have found their way into the groundwater or entered through an opening in, around or at the top of the well casing.
The presence of coliform bacteria indicates that the water is potentially dangerous and should not be consumed unless boiled.