Drinking Water

Published 2023

The presence of pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms (bacterial or parasitic) is a concern when considering the safety of drinking water. Pathogenic organisms can cause flu-like symptoms, intestinal infections, dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid fever, cholera, and other illnesses.

Bacterial contamination of drinking water can be a problem. A water test is the only way to evaluate whether bacteria is present in a water supply. Public water suppliers must test water for bacteria and comply with the EPA standard of zero total coliform per 100 ml of water. Managing and testing a private water supply for bacteria is at the discretion of the well owner and/or water user. Properly locating and constructing a well are key to avoiding bacterial contamination of drinking water. If contamination is present in a private water supply, attempt to identify and eliminate the source of the contamination. A contaminated water supply can be disinfected.

Publication Details


Bruce I. Dvorak

Becky Schuerman


Natural Resources

Water Management

Publication Date March 04, 2008
Last Revision Date June 19, 2023
Language English


Series NebGuide