MacConkey agar, standard M-FC agar, M-FC agar without rosolic acid, M-FC agar with a resuscitation top layer, Teepol agar, and pads saturated with Teepol broth, were evaluated as growth media for membrane filtration counting of fecal coliform bacteria in water. In comparative tests on 312 samples of water from a wide variety of sources, including chlorinated effluents, M-FC agar without rosolic acid proved the medium of choice because it generally yielded the highest counts, was readily obtainable, easy to prepare and handle, and yielded clearly recognizable fecal coliform colonies. Identification of 1,139 fecal coliform isolates showed that fecal coliform tests cannot be used to enumerate Escherichia coli because the incidence of E. coli among fecal coliforms varied from an average of 51% for river water to 93% for an activated sludge effluent after chlorination. The incidence of Klebsiella pneumoniae among fecal coliforms varied from an average of 4% for the activated sludge effluent after chlorination to 32% for the river water. The advantages of a standard membrane filtration procedure for routine counting of fecal coliforms in water using M-FC agar without rosolic acid as growth medium, in the absence of preincubation or resuscitation steps, are outlined.