We have been testing water from well and springs for Total Coliform, E.coli,...

Asked July 19, 2018, 11:26 AM EDT

We have been testing water from well and springs for Total Coliform, E.coli, Iron Bacteria and Sulfur Bacteria. There have been some high not safe to drink levels and high levels of Iron and Sulfur Bacteria that results in Smells, etc. What is the best way to continue to kill all these bacteria after the water system is shock chlorinated? Many households would be thankful if we could help with advice on the best treatment to keep their water safe to drink and not have all the smell.


1 Response

Thank you for contacting OSU Extension with your questions regarding water testing & interpreting. Dr. Karen Mancl is our Extension faculty expert but she is out on leave & we only discovered this after I made some calls to find out why this question hadn't been answered. Excuses aside, I've contacted a colleague, Dr. Brian Slater, who has worked with Dr. Mancl & he has provided answers to your questions. Here are Dr. Slater's answers:

Regarding testing, please see Karen Mancl’s OSU Extension information:


and Ohio Department of Health information:


Several tests should run to make sure that the results are reliable.

Some further detail is included at this website:


For interpreting the results of a well water test, the following is a useful online tool:


If the results indicate high levels of coliform bacteria, then disinfection is needed. The following ODH (Ohio Department of Health) fact sheet has lots of useful information:

After shock chlorination, the well should be tested again. If the problem persists then measures will need to be taken to get to the source of the contamination. ODH provides a list of registered contractors who could help with this at:


I hope that helps.


Brian K. Slater, PhD

Associate Professor and Associate Director
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences School of Environment and Natural Resources
210P Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-7315 Office / (614) 581-9102 Mobile / (614) 292-7432 Fax
slater.39@osu.edu osu.edu

The Ohio Department of Health as a factsheet on "Disinfection for Drinking Water Wells" that you can download at https://www.odh.ohio.gov/-/media/ODH/ASSETS/Files/eh/water/factsheet/welldisinfectionfactsheetforhom....

Again, thank you for contacting OSU Extension. You may also want to reach out to the Franklin County OSU Extension office, located at 530 W. Spring St., Suite 275, Columbus.Phone:614-866-6900. Online @ https://franklin.osu.edu/.

Kind regards,