Organisms found in Untreated Water
click to enlarge
|Janice Haney Carr/CDC|
Under a moderate magnification of 2000X, this digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of an untreated water specimen extracted from a wild stream mainly used to control flooding during inclement weather, revealed the presence of unidentified organisms, which included bacteria, protozoa, and algae.
In this particular view, a single copepod-like microorganism was seen occupying the field of view. Also, if you look closely towards the upper right corner, you’ll also notice the small grouping of bacteria, which had become enmeshed in a patch of biofilm.
Though many organisms found in untreated waters are harmless, there are many that are pathogenic to both humans and animals, including Giardia spp., free-living amebae, and E. coli just to name a few. During power outages, the functionality of treated water systems can be negatively affected, thereby, violating the patency of these closed systems. In these instances, advisories may be posted, encouraging inhabitants of these regions to boil their water tap water in order to kill off any pathogenic organisms that may have entered the system due to an intrasystemic drop in positive pressure.
Not only do water treatment plants remove such pathogenic organisms, but chemical that can be injurious to humans and animals are filtered from the water making it potable. Again, during power outages, or in the case of broken pipes, chemicals can contaminate tap water rendering it unsuitable to drink as well.