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Can J Microbiol. 2007 May;53(5):580-5.

Nematodes as a source of total coliforms in a distribution system.

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Department of Civil Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal, QC H3C 3A7, Canada.


In a distribution system of a large North American city, recurring total coliforms and atypical coliforms were detected at the exit (distribution pumps) of a storage reservoir. The presence of total coliforms and atypical coliforms was noted when the pumps were in operation and the water temperature was higher than 18 degrees C. The total coliform and atypical coliform concentrations at the volute pump casings ranged from 0 to 93.5 colony forming units (cfu)/100 mL. Significant concentrations of nematodes were also detected at this sampling location, averaging 12.0 nematodes/L in 2001 and 17.4 nematodes/L in 2002. The hypothesis that coliforms were released from the nematodes during their transit through the high-pressure pump was tested by recovering nematodes by filtering large volumes of water and grinding the nematodes in the laboratory, using various techniques. Total coliform and heterotrophic bacteria concentrations ranged from 0 to 27 cfu/nematode and 0 to 643 cfu/nematode, respectively. The origin of the nematodes was traced back to the sand filters located at the two water treatment plants. The importance of invertebrates in the distribution system should not be dismissed and the associated health risks, if any, should be assessed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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