Microbiology laboratory testing has grown in the past couple of decades due to increased demands on potable and wastewater generated by an ever-growing population. Disciplines such as molecular biology, clinical microbiology and genetic engineering have fueled its growth and caused a revolution in the field of microbiology. This has also created a lot of misconceptions about industrial and domestic water testing in Dubai, also among urban planners and civil engineers who design drinking water systems and wastewater facilities. Here are the most common misconceptions about water microbiology testing

My water is chlorinated and therefore bacteria-free.

It is true that an in-house chlorination system can reduce the number of bacteria in your water supply but it does not eliminate them completely. The reason for this is that chlorine does not kill all types of bacteria. In fact, some kinds of bacteria are resistant to chlorine. These include some types of coliforms and pseudomonas aeruginosa.

All are types of gram-negative rods which are most commonly found in the intestines of animals, birds and fish, but they also live inside plant roots too. They can cause some pretty nasty diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever. They can also cause infections like Legionnaire’s disease (Legionellosis). Contact a legionella testing lab in UAE to identify pathogens present in water and reduce infections.

My system was just cleaned, so we don’t need to test the water.

It’s true that your system may have been cleaned, but it doesn’t mean that it is free of bacteria or contamination. In fact, just because your system seems clean on the surface, doesn’t mean that all of the contaminants have been removed. It only means that there are no visible signs of contamination. What you can’t see is what’s happening underneath the surface – below the waterline – where harmful bacteria can exist in an invisible form.

A test kit is all you need to test for bacteria in water.

Test kits are designed for use with water samples that contain high numbers of bacteria. They usually do not work well with samples containing only low levels of bacteria. For these situations, you need to use an approved microbiological method. Avoid using these DIY kits to determine if there are any harmful organisms in your water. They are not as accurate as professional testing and often give false positives or negatives. For certainty of no traces of bacteria in your industry or domestic water, send a sample to an ISO 17025/EIAC accredited laboratory in UAE for testing. These tests are not only accurate, but also very specific for the type of bacteria present.

Microbial testing is not necessary.

The misconception has carried on to spread over the years due to the fact that many people tend to think that they are only exposed to contaminated water when they are swimming in it or drinking it. However, this is not true. In fact, most people are exposed to contaminated water even if they do not realise it! This can happen through exposure from other sources such as contact with surfaces, food preparation, etc., which means that even if you don’t drink or swim in the water, chances are high that you are still being exposed to it.

My system is working just fine, so I don’t need to test.

Wrong! By using municipal water service, you are required to test your water for chlorine and other contaminants. Which may not be the case with private well water. You should test the water at least once a year and more often if you notice any changes in your system or if there are problems with your water. You may think your system is working fine, but it could be harbouring an unseen problem. A microbiology test will tell you if there are any pathogens in your water supply.

You don’t need to be concerned about microbiological contamination if you have good filtration

This is a common misconception. While good filtration can help reduce the risk of microbiological contamination, it does not eliminate it. The only way to ensure that your water supply is free from harmful microbes is to test for them and take appropriate corrective action.  Even if you have a high quality filter system in place, you should still get regular microbiological tests done in order to ensure that bacteria aren’t building up inside it over time.

There is Too Much of a Lag Time with Microbiological Water Testing.

This is a common misconception, and no, there is no lag time with microbiological testing. You can get results back within 24 hours of sending your sample to the lab. An onsite microbiology testing service may allow you to take the samples and send them back to the labs for testing.

But in most scenarios, the lag time for microbiological testing can vary greatly depending on the type of test and what needs to be analysed. The time it takes for a reliable facility offering laboratory testing services in Dubai to produce results and send them to you can also vary greatly. However, if you are concerned about how long it will take for your samples to be processed, you should ask your lab about their turnaround times. This can help ensure that you get your results back in a timely manner.

Bactria Cannot Survive in Hot Water Above 140°F (60°C).

The reason for this is that the temperature of the water does not kill bacteria. Instead, it damages them and makes it harder for them to reproduce. The heat will kill a large portion of any bacteria present, but some may survive if they are able to adapt to the temperature change and then reproduce at a later time when the water returns to a normal temperature.

Heat and Ultraviolet Light Can Kill Pathogenic Marine Bacteria.

A common misconception is that a high enough temperature or ultraviolet (UV) light can kill all pathogens in water. While it’s true that heat and UV can kill some pathogens, other pathogens are more resistant to these processes and may survive for days or weeks in water.

Heat is often used to disinfect drinking water, but it’s not always effective against all kinds of bacteria, viruses and parasites. Bacteria such as Legionella pneumophila and Mycobacterium tuberculosis are commonly found in tap water systems and are not easily killed by heat alone.

To conclude:

Not only do these misconceptions result in improper water treatment, but it also poses a threat to those that use this water. So if there are any misconceptions about microbiology testing you would like debunked, why not let us know in the comments below? Whenever you are in doubt regarding water microbiology testing facts and benefits, contact an ISO accredited laboratory in Dubai. URS testing laboratories have highly experienced microbiologists to provide you custom solutions for your labs and testing needs. It is important to get a reliable microbiology lab to ensure that your water samples get analysed correctly and discount these rumours.