Western Environmental
Testing Laboratory
Revised Total Coliform Rule

The EPA revised the Total Coliform Rule (TCR) in 2013, but these changes need to be implemented soon. By April 1, 2016, all compliant public water systems will have to implement the revised TCR requirements. At WETLAB, we take a great interest in the new regulatory measures that affect our clients, and we decided to take a closer look at what the Revised Total Coliform Rule entails.

According to the EPA, the RTCR is intended to “protect public health by ensuring the integrity of the drinking water distribution system and monitoring for the presence of microbial contamination.” Which essentially means that the RTCR confirms what the TCR has already established since 1989, and then expands upon the initial rule. The RTCR requires that all public water systems (PWS) show that they meet the legal limit for E. coli through expanded required monitoring. The rule also goes on to specify what the actual frequency and timing of the required microbial testing is; which is based on the populations served by the PWS, the type of PWS, and what type of source water the PWS uses.

To find the exact requirements of the new rule, we highly suggest visiting the EPA’s page on the RTCR here. These changes do not have to be implemented until April 1, 2016, but it is crucial to have an accurate understanding of the new rule.

At WETLAB, we strive to provide our clients with the most accurate and up-to-date information available.  If you have any questions, about this rule or any other, please call us at (775) 355-0202. 

Effluent water could soon become part of your normal drinking water in Northern Nevada.  According to KTVN, reclaimed water is around 30% cheaper than potable water, but the problem is that waste water is not drinkable yet. Yet is the key word here, because regulations that define how much the water will need to be treated are working their way through the Nevada state legislature, and lawmakers are hoping to see them adopted by the 2017 session.

As everyone knows, Northern Nevada is suffering a severe drought.  Having another way to reuse water will have a great, positive environmental impact on our already low waterways.  Effluent water is already being used in some ways, mostly to irrigate parks and golf courses, but more could be put back into eventual use by the proposed measure.  The process involves injecting semi-treated water directly into the ground, so that it will later make its way back into our pipes.  This will ease the strain that is currently put on the Truckee River, which will in turn help with our ecosystem.

Effluent water is defined as waste-water, whether treated or not, that flows out from an industrial treatment plant or sewer.  Secondary effluent is that same water that has been treated, but not to the point of purity.  Obviously, the main difference between potable and effluent water is the cleanliness of the water, and its fitness for human consumption.

WETLAB preforms several tests on effluent water for many different clients, including public and private companies.  Some of these tests are Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), which tests how much oxygen demand the effluent water has, and Total Suspended Solids (TSS), which tests the amount of suspended solids within an aqueous sample.  Several other tests are often performed in tandem on effluent water samples, including Total Nitrogen, Nitrate + Nitrite, Ammonia, Total Phosphorous, and Fecal Coliform.  These tests all provide a detailed profile of what exactly is contained in an effluent sample, and allow proprietors to know how to best treat their water.

Singapore and Texas have already implemented effluent-to-drinking-water purification systems, with positive results.  To read more about this program in Nevada, and to see an interesting news report on it, click here.

Viva Las Vegas!  As for Vegas, the lease is completed and we’re currently setting up and going through the certification process for the test we will perform in Vegas. We will perform locally Total Coliform, Quant Tray, Fecal Coliform, pH and BOD5.

The address is 3230 Polaris Ave. Unit 4, Las Vegas, NV 89102.
For additional information please contact Nick Ross at (775) 355-0202.

Natural resources are important for the livelihood and survival of populations.  One of the most important resources is water, and to be even more specific clean water.  The distribution of water serves many purposes, from aquatic ecosystems, domestic use to commercial and industrial use.  Clean and safe drinking water can be monitored through microbiological testing.  At WETLAB – Western Environmental Testing Laboratory we are proud to offer four certified microbiology analyses and two non-compliance tests.  We are certified in Nevada and California to analyze Presence/Absence (P/A), Quanti-tray, Fecal Coliform, and Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC).  The two non-compliance tests we offer are tests to determine Iron Related Bacteria and Sulfate Reducing Bacteria.  WETLAB is continuously evolving each department and strives to offer quality data for clients and we encourage method development by researching new tests in order to meet our client needs.

This post is provided to help clients better understand the microbiology analyses at WETLAB.  Each test will be described in detail with regards to what we are testing for, what type of sample matrices can be analyzed for certain tests, brief description of the analyses and the hold times for each test (please note there are two different hold times for Quanti-tray).  The definition that we follow at WETLAB for sample hold time is the time from sample collection to when analysis MUST begin.

 

For more information on microbiology analysis, please refer to Standard Methods, Part 9000, Methods 9222 and 9223.

 

Bacteria Sample Bottle, Volume and Sample Integrity

  • Plastic, sterile bottle
  • Sample bottle contains sodium thiosulfate.
  • Fill to 100 mL line.
  • Chill to 2-6o C.
  • Cleanliness is required!

 

SM 9223 B

Presence/Absence (P/A)

Laboratory Hold time (HT)

  • P/A  =  30 Hour HT

Sample Matrix

  • This test is recommended for the analysis of potable drinking water and fresh source waters

 

Biology Background

  • The scope of this test is to analyze for the presence or absence of Total Coliform bacteria and Escherichia Coli. Total Coliform bacteria are abundant in the environment and are easily identified in the laboratory.  While these bacteria may not be pathogenic they are used as “indicator bacteria,” for the sanitation of drinking water.  If Total Coliform bacteria are present, there is a chance that E.Coli could also be present.  Some types of E.Coli can be found in the guts of living organisms as beneficial co-factors in the daily health of that individual.  Because E.Coli is found in the gut, the purpose of testing for it is to determine the possibility of fecal contamination, which is used as an indicator for the sanitation of a water source.

Laboratory Analysis

  • Tests for Total Coliform and E. coli only.
  • Strictly a qualitative result is obtained.
  • Used almost exclusively for drinking water.
  • 24 hour incubation.
  • Incubation temperature, 35.0 + 0.5 oC
  • Analysis performed in sample bottle.
  • Commercially available chromogenic substrate (ONPG)-known as “Colilert” is used.
  • Colilert is used to detect the enzyme b-D-galactosidase, which is produced by total coliform.
  • Total coliform detection produces a yellow color.
  • Colilert is used to detect the enzyme b-glucuronidase, which is produced by E. coli.
  • E. coli detection produces a fluorescent product when viewed under long-wavelength UV light.

 


SM 9223 B

Quanti-tray (MPN)

 

Laboratory Hold time (HT)

  • Quanti-tray =  30 Hour HT for Drinking water/Source water
  • Quanti-tray =  6 Hour HT for Wastewater samples

Sample Matrix

  • This test is recommended for the analysis of potable drinking water, fresh source water or wastewaters

 

Biology Background

  • The scope of this test is to analyze for a “most probable number” index of the number of Total Coliform bacteria and Escherichia Coli, present in the sample.. Total Coliform bacteria are abundant in the environment and are easily identified in the laboratory.  While these bacteria may not be pathogenic they are used as “indicator bacteria,” for the sanitation of drinking water.  If Total Coliform bacteria are present, there is a chance that E.Coli could also be present.  Some types of E.Coli can be found in the guts of living organisms as beneficial co-factors in the daily health of that individual.  Because E.Coli is found in the gut, the purpose of testing for it is to determine the possibility of fecal contamination, which is used as an indicator for the sanitation of the water source.

Laboratory Analysis

  • Tests for Total Coliform and E. coli only.
  • Quantitative result is obtained.
  • Most commonly used for source water.
  • 24 hour incubation.
  • Incubation temperature, 35.0 + 0.5 oC
  • Uses Colilert just like presence/absence.
  • Sample poured into analysis tray, then incubated.
  • Count yellow/fluorescent wells in tray, this produces MPN-Most Probable Number result.

SM 9222 D

Fecal Coliform

Laboratory Hold time (HT)

  • Fecal Coliform  =  8 Hour HT

Sample Matrix

  • This test is recommended for the analysis source water, wastewaters and sludge’s.

 

Biology Background

  • The scope of this test is to analyze a direct count of colony forming units of fecal coliform.  Fecal coliform can originate in feces (e.g. E.Coli) or non-fecal origin, such as plant materials and paper mill effluents examples of bacteria are Enterobacter, Klebsiella, Citrobacter.  The assay is intended to detect E. Coli as an indicator organism for fecal contamination.

 

Laboratory Analysis

  • Tests for fecal contamination in water.
  • Quantitative result is obtained.
  • Most commonly used for waste water and surface water.
  • 24 hour incubation in water bath.
  • Incubation temperature, 44.5. + 0.2 oC
    • Sample is filtered (0.45 mm), microorganisms collect on filter and grow due to media used in petri dish.
    • Count blue colonies.

SM 9215 B / SimPlate

HETEROTROPHIC PLATE COUNT (HPC)

Laboratory Hold time (HT)

  • HPC  =  8 Hour HT

Sample Matrix

  • This test is recommended for the analysis of potable drinking water, fresh source water or wastewaters.

Biology Background

  • Heterotrophic bacteria, must consume carbon sources for energy and growth.  They are found prevalent in the environment as decomposing bacteria as well as being normal flora of the human body.  Current research is investigating the use of Heterotrophic bacteria testing for similar purposes as P/A and Fecal Coliform, to evaluate the composition of the water, using Heterotrophic bacteria as the “indicator” organism for possible contamination in water.

 

 

 

Laboratory Analysis

  • Tests for Heterotrophic bacteria
  • Quantitative result is obtained.
  • Most commonly used for drinking water.
  • 48 hour incubation.
  • Incubation temperature, 35.0 + 0.5 oC
  • Uses IDEXX’s Multiple Enzyme Technology media.
  • Sample poured into analysis tray, then incubated.
  • Count blue fluorescence, this produces MPN-Most Probable Number result.


SM 9240 B

Iron Related Bacteria (IRB)

 

SM 9240 C

Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRB)

Laboratory Hold time (HT)

  • IRB/SRB  =  WETLAB would prefer to use a hold time of 30 Hours

Sample Matrix

  • This test is recommended for the analysis of treated water, distribution systems and water used in for industrial use, such as cooling and boiler waters.

 

Biology Background

  • The scope of these tests are very similar, hence the reason they have been grouped together.  The metabolic processes of Iron Bacteria and Sulfur Bacteria chemically change the constituents they are associated with.  The metabolic wastes can be bothersome because they can form slimes that clog pipelines or affect the aesthetic properties of water.

Laboratory Analysis

  • Tests for either Iron Related Bacteria or Sulfate Reducing Bacteria
  • Strictly a qualitative result is obtained.
  • Most commonly used for water used for industrial and distribution systems.
  • 8 Day incubation.
  • Incubation temperature, 20-25oC
  • Uses BARTTM test kit for IRB or SRB analysis
  • Sample poured into analysis tray, then incubated.
  • Visually inspect for reactions of presence/absence.