Ideally, all samples taken from the distribution system including consumers’ premises should be free of E. coli and coliform organism. A ‘health advisory’ alerts all water users that there is a health risk associated with the water supply. In most cases, the use of boiled or bottled water will be recommended for drinking and cooking. The notice will inform customers of actions being taken to correct the problem, and when the problem will likely be resolved. More water samples will be taken to find and eliminate potential contamination sources, and chlorination and flushing of the system will most likely occur. The health advisory will remain in effect until the situation is resolved.
Microbiologically unsafe water can make you sick. E. coli is that sub-group of the faecal coliform family that can cause diseases like diarrhoea. Confirmation of faecal coliform bacteria or E. coli in a water system indicates recent faecal contamination, which may pose an immediate health risk to anyone consuming the water. E. Coli is most commonly found in intestines of people and warm-blooded animals, and through faeces finds its way into water supply. In some countries, detection of E. coli contamination will lead to a ‘health advisory’ being issued within 24 hours. In the investigation by Team Voice, drinking water sample from Ghaziabad showed E. coli and coliform contamination. It is necessary that drinking water sources are tested regularly to know whether the water is meeting the prescribed standards for quality. At periodic intervals, the authorities must review and invest in infrastructure and upgrade treatment and distribution facilities. Finally, as citizens and consumers, all of us must exercise our right to know whether our drinking water is safe.