your building or home ever had a sewage back-up or a
sprinkler system leak?
If so, dangerous
bacteria such as Fecal Coliform, Total Coliform, and
E. coli could have contaminated much of the building
surfaces contacted during the water loss or sewage
What Is Bacteria?
Bacteria are microscopic, one-celled organisms
usually classified as plants (in a division called
fungi). Bacteria typically originates in human and
animal wastes and can enter a water supply from
septic tank drainage, sewage and sewer back-ups, a
toilet overflow, feedlot manure or direct drainage
of surface runoff into wells. In addition to
contaminating construction materials, bacterial
contamination remains the most common water quality
problem for individual (private wells) and small
community public systems (under 1,000 service
How Do You Come In Contact With Bacteria?
Humans and animals can come into contact
with bacteria through several ways:
- Skin contact: walking, laying, crawling on
floors and other construction materials that
have been exposed to black water (sewer water)
- Inhalation: breathing bacteria contaminated
- Ingestion: drinking bacteria contaminated
well or tap water
Fecal coliform bacteria are mostly found in
drinking water that comes from private wells and
small water systems. This is partly because private
water supplies, small rural public water supplies
and private wells are not required, by law, to be
tested. Every time you drink water from one of these
sources, you may be exposed to harmful levels of
bacteria, which can pose immediate threat to your
health. Families drinking non-chlorinated water such
as from an underground well and apartment dwellers
roof-top wood storage tanks are especially
susceptible to bacterial contamination. Home water
treatment devices utilizing GAC (Granular Activated
Charcoal) as a singular filtering device may also
become a breeding ground for bacteria.
What Can Bacteria Do To You?
Fecal coliform bacteria in drinking water
can lead to diseases such as typhoid fever and
cholera, though these diseases are rare in the
United States. Fecal coliform bacteria contamination
can also lead to infectious hepatitis and dysentery,
which are more common. Some experts believe that
exposure to high levels of bacteria in drinking
water can also make infants more susceptible to the
toxic effects of nitrates in drinking water.
Symptoms associated with bacterial contamination
include digestive problems, fever, nausea, diarrhea
Bacterial Infection VS Viral Infection
Bacterial infections are caused by
bacteria and viral infections are caused by viruses.
Infections caused by bacteria include strep throat,
tuberculosis and urinary tract infections. Diseases
that result from viruses include chickenpox, AIDS
and the common cold.
Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that
thrive in many different types of environments. Some
varieties live in extremes of cold or heat, while
others make their home in people's intestines, where
they help digest food. Most bacteria cause no harm
Viruses are even smaller than bacteria and require
living hosts — such as people, plants or animals —
to multiply. Otherwise, they can't survive. When a
virus enters your body, it invades some of your
cells and takes over the cell machinery, redirecting
it to produce the virus.
Perhaps the most important distinction between
bacteria and viruses is that antibiotic drugs
usually kill bacteria, but they aren't effective
against viruses. In some cases, it may be difficult
to determine whether bacteria or a virus is causing
your symptoms. Many ailments — such as pneumonia,
meningitis and diarrhea — can be caused by either
type of microbe.
Inappropriate use of antibiotics has helped create
strains of bacterial disease that are resistant to
treatment with different types of antibiotic
AMI can test to determine if bacteria contamination
has occurred by taking surface and cultured samples.
If the black water loss is positive for bacteria,
AMI can oversee the decontamination project of all
building materials through your sewage abatement
For more specific information regarding your
personal concerns about bacteria in your building,
call AMI to speak to a Certified Professional at