What is Living in Your Drinking Water?
Various diseases can find their way into our waterways. Usually the cause is human or animal feces. Some of the most common include Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and coliform bacteria.
Commonly called “Crypto,” this microscopic parasite is known to cause diarrhea, and it’s the reason you are told to wait two weeks to go swimming after you come down with diarrhea. It is the most common waterborne disease in the United States. Unfortunately for us, Crypto lives inside an outer shell that makes it resistant to chlorine disinfection. One way to prevent it in your home is to boil your water content for one minute, then leave it to cool.
Giardia is another parasite that is resistant to chlorine. Symptoms like gas, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and dehydration can last for two weeks or more. Giardia exists across the world, including all regions of the United States. Some animals that can carry the parasite include dogs, cats, beavers, and deer. If you have been infected, there are several drugs that can be helpful for treatment.
“Coliform” refers to a wide range of bacteria that live in water, as well as soil and plant matter. Most of these bacteria are harmless, but a few rare types can cause serious illness. Unlike many contaminants, testing for coliforms is relatively easy. Testing can be useful, even if the coliform is harmless, because it lets you know that your water has been contaminated and that you may be at greater risk of waterborne disease.