Chambers with membrane-filter side walls were designed for studies of the survival of coliform bacteria in natural and artificial waters. Experiments were carried out in the field and in the laboratory. The initial uptake rate of inorganic ions, total carbon, and glucose into the chamber was greater than twice as fast as the accumulation of each into dialysis tubing. When the survival of a water-isolated fecal coliform bacterium was examined in two adjacent mountain streams, it was found that the organism persisted longer in Bozeman Creek than in Middle Creek. These data may be a reflection of the water chemistry because the concentration of inorganic constituents of the former was greater. Laboratory studies of the survival of a fecal coliform bacterium in artificial and natural water with continuous flow were used to determine the effect of chemical composition, temperature, and pH. The relation of this type of data to the use of fecal coliform bacteria as indicators of health hazard in water is discussed.