New NCR Resource

December 20, 2023

first page of the water resource documentTotal Coliform-Positive Well Water Test: Now What
is a new resource from the NCR FSMA.  Don Stoeckel, along with Annalisa Hultberg, University of Minnesota; Katelynn Stull, Cal Jamerson, and Manreet Bhullar, Kansas State University; Patrick Byers, University of Missouri; and Londa Nwadike, Kansas State University and University of Missouri, and Elizabeth Bihn, Cornell University, developed this new resource, utilizing NCR FSMA resource development funds.

Summary of Main Points

  • Agricultural water used during harvest and postharvest should be the microbial equivalent of drinking water.
  • Protected ground water normally has no detectable coliform bacteria in 100 mL. Presence of total coliforms indicates vulnerability to surface intrusion. Presence of generic E. coli indicates that feces has intruded.
  • Corrective actions in response to total coliform-positive well water can vary; depending on the use of the water it may be important to understand and address the conditions that led to intrusion.
  • If the total coliforms in the water include generic E. coli, corrective action is a priority; immediately stop use as drinking water or in contact with produce during harvest and postharvest, then find and resolve the cause.