The Laboratory

ECW’s laboratory features the necessary equipment to analyse total coliform and E. coli concentrations in fresh and salt water, including water baths, air incubators, an autoclave, and a still.

Total coliform bacteria, fecal coliform bacteria, and Escherichia coli are all considered indicators of water contaminated with fecal matter. Contaminated water may contain other pathogens that are more difficult to test for. Therefore, these indicator bacteria are useful in giving a measure of contamination levels.

The total coliform bacterial count is widely regarded as the most reliable indicator of potable water quality. Coliform bacteria are found in the human and animal intestine, but may also be found in the environment, and therefore serve as indicators of potential fecal pollution. E. coli is only found in human and animal intestines, and tests for its presence in water are necessary to confirm that pollution is of industrial or animal origin.