Abstract

Private well water systems in rural areas that are improperly maintained will result in poor drinking water quality, loss of water supply, and pose human health risk. The purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) and opportunistic pathogens in private well water in rural areas surrounding New Orleans, Lousiana. Our results confirmed the ubiquitous nature of Legionella (86.7%) and mycobacteria (68.1%) in private well water in the researched area, with gene concentration ranged from 0.60 to 5.53 and 0.67 to 5.95 Log10 of GC/100 mL, respectively. Naegleria fowleri target sequence was detected in 16.8% and Escherichia coli was detected in 43.4% of the water samples. Total coliform, as well as Legionella and mycobacteria genetic markers' concentrations were significantly reduced by 3-minute flushing. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) data indicated that the abundance of bacterial species was significantly increased in water collected in kitchens compared with samples from wells directly. This study provided integrated knowledge on the persistence of pathogenic organisms in private well water. Further study is needed to explore the presence of clinical species of those opportunistic pathogens in private well water systems to elucidate the health risk.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.