Many water utilities are required to monitor source water for the presence of total coliforms, fecal coliforms, or both.
This method is prescriptive. It describes the selective isolation of total coliforms and E. coli environmental water sources such as fresh water, surface water, groundwater, etc.
Fecal coliforms (FC) and E. coli are sub-groups of TC that are more associated with the feces of people and warm-blooded animals. FC or E. coli presence can indicate contamination of water supplies resulting in an increased risk of the presence of waterborne pathogens. Bacterial indicators such as TC and E. coli are also valuable indicators of the performance of drinking water treatment processes and distribution system integrity.
This method does not meet the prescriptive elements required for testing and reporting drinking water samples. It is intended for the analysis of environmental test samples (including those that may potentially be used as drinking water sources).