Can You Shower In Water With Coliform

Having a well to supply you with your water source needs monitoring daily. To maintain cleanliness and healthy standard in your home, you should be testing your water. There are many questions involved with well water, and preventative maintenance is always best.

Can you shower in water with coliform? Yes, you can take a shower in water with coliform as long as you do not drink the water. Maintaining the proper levels of bacteria in any water source is vital to your health. Testing your water before the holidays is always a recommendation and this will make you feel good about having guests and relatives over.

Let’s take a look below at why we should test our well water and what we should be concerned about within the process.

Bacteria sample
Bacteria sample

What Is Coliform Bacteria

There are three main groups of bacteria in your water source. Let’s take a look at the big three.

E. Coli

This bacteria is the strongest indicator of contamination to your water source. Never drink water that contains this bacteria as it can cause some major health issues.

Side effects from drinking this water are:

  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

If your body is unable to expel this bacteria, you can end up with respiratory illness, pneumonia, infections, organ failure, and even death.

Fecal Coliform

This bacteria comes from the feces of warm-blooded animals/mammals and humans. Typically found when a break in the septic system occurs and leakage or runoff gets into your water source. You can also see this happen in areas of agriculture.

Animals roam and use the land as their bathroom. This natural fertilizer gets into the soil and can end up in the water runoff. Fecal coliform is a high-risk indicator, but not necessarily an indicator of a harmful pathogen. Immediately use bottled water when fecal coliform is present in your water source.

Total Coliform

This indicator bacteria shows that your water source has exposure to various types of contamination via plants, animals, or soil. This isn’t always a cause for health concerns as most coliform species do not impact human health. However, the main purpose to test for total coliform is to ensure that your water source is not at risk of contamination from other disease-causing pathogens.

Is It Safe

Considering the damage that can occur to your health, bathing, and showering in water with coliform is not the safest. It can be done by an adult who knows not to swallow the water. However, bathing an infant or young child, an elderly person, or even someone with open wounds, is not recommended. If you suspect your water to be contaminated, it is best to boil the water for at least 10 minutes.

Fresh water in a glass
Fresh water in a glass

Do I Test For Bacteria In Water

Get a water test to see which type of metals and bacteria you have present in your well water. The inspector will take water samples at the source of the incoming water. Whether you are on well water or city water, we can check. The water samples are then sent to a laboratory for testing/sampling of the contents.

Additionally, testing for e-coli bacteria, fecal coliform, and total coliform should also be done during the water test. These water sample results are typically received within 5-7 business days after submission of the samples.  If bacteria are present, well treatments are recommended.

Also, testing water is important to find out if you have anything that can cause harm to the health of your family such as contaminants. You won’t know if your water is safe to shower in.  Furthermore, the water test will tell you the ppm (parts per million), the type and amount of iron, water’s ph, and dissolved oxygen.

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES) and Vermont Health Recommendations are great places to read up on well water specifics such as how to safely disinfect your water, and test for contamination.

How Much Does It Cost

Believe it or not, there are a variety of water test kits on the market. You will want to read the reviews on each one to ensure that you have selected the one that fits your needs. The price range for a water test kit is $18 to $65. Again, knowing what you are testing for allows you to select the correct test kit. You can always call on Twin State Inspections to conduct a water test. If you test for bacteria on your own, you MUST get the sample to the lab within 30 hours and it must arrive ice cold (not frozen).

Well Water Inspections

Inspection of the well should be done at least once a year.  In colder states, such as here in New Hampshire and Vermont, the warmer months are probably a better time for inspecting. Additionally, have it inspected more often if you find the water is cloudy, or you have a drop in water pressure.

Well-water inspections – cost about $300-$500 so it is an investment into maintaining a healthy home. The inspections take a few hours to inspect the well. In the well inspection, the well hole and casing, grout, valves, pressure gauge, control box, capacitors, well cap, and electrical wiring (where applicable) are also checked.

In addition, testing of water and checking for bacteria and lead are also done. Before jumping into this investment you will also want to know how often well water should be tested.

Other Recommended Maintenance

While you are having your well inspected and making sure that the water is clean, also check around the outside of the home. One area is the landscaping to ensure that it is keeping water away from the house.

Another area of recommended maintenance is the roof. Next time it rains, watch how the water runs off the roof. If you have gutters, make sure they are not clogging. If you don’t have gutters, you can add some in or get rain chains or add in a drain.

When Do I Call A Professional

Hiring your local home inspection team to come out and conduct a well water inspection is key. You can always get a well water test kit from your local hardware store, however, having a professional check the water quality is best for peace of mind. Twin State Inspections, LLC is a member of the Water Quality Association.

Water Quality Association members
Water Quality Association members


As you can see, you can shower in water with coliform. However, you do need to be careful and focus on testing your water so you have a healthy and safe home. At any moment the equipment from your well could break down or become damaged from environmental conditions. Conducting routine maintenance and inspections of the well is highly recommended.

This ensures that your home’s water source is not contaminated. We can test the water coming out of your faucets and check on how the well is working during our home inspections in the Twin state areas of VT, and NH.