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Holding effects on coliform enumeration in drinking water samples.

  • A E McDaniels
  • R H Bordner
  • P S Gartside
  • J R Haines
  • K P Brenner
  • C C Rankin
Publication Date
Oct 01, 1985
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Standard procedures for analyzing drinking water stress the need to adhere to the time and temperature conditions recommended for holding samples collected for microbiological testing. The National Drinking Water Laboratory Certification Program requires compliance with these holding limits, but some investigators have reported difficulties in meeting them. Research was conducted by standard analytical methods to determine if changes occurred when samples were held at 5 and 22 degrees C and analyzed at 0, 24, 30, and 48 h. Samples were analyzed for coliforms by the membrane filter and fermentation-tube procedures and for heterotrophs by the pour plate method. A total of 17 treated water samples were collected from a large municipal distribution system from August to December 1981, and 12 samples were collected from January to May 1983. The samples were dosed with coliforms previously isolated from the water system, Enterobacter cloacae in 1981 and Citrobacter freundii in 1983. The coliform counts declined linearly over time, and the rates of decline were significant at both 5 and 22 degrees C. Within 24 h at 22 degrees C, levels of E. cloacae and C. freundii decreased by 47 and 26%, respectively, and at 5 degrees C, E. cloacae numbers declined by 23%. Results from these representative laboratory-grown coliforms reinforced those previously obtained with naturally occurring coliforms under the same experimental conditions. Significantly, some samples with initially unacceptable counts (greater than 4/100 ml) met the safe drinking water limits after storage at 24 h at 5 and 22 degrees C and would have been classified as satisfactory.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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