Daily archives "July 14, 2011"

Newlands Spring test results

There have been some suggestions that the Newlands Spring water was not safe to drink, and an anonymous test was published showing very different results to the previous tests. Since we’re now distributing the water on behalf of our members, and all of the tests were from last year, I had the water tested again.

The test results are back and can be viewed in full here.

There are updated, stricter standards for 2011. According to these standards, Total Microbial Activity (TMA) should be less than 1000 colony-forming units (cfu) per ml. Newlands spring water measures 10. Total coliforms need to be less than 10 cfu/ml. Coliforms are bacteria that are found in soil, plants and digestive tracts of animals and humans. Newlands spring water measures 2.

Faecal coliforms are a subset of coliforms that are present specifically in the gut and faeces of warm-blooded animals, and the best indicator of whether water has been contaminated. There cannot be any detectable. E Coli are the major subset of coliforms. Unfortunately, when I had the test done, I misunderstood, and they only tested for e coli (of which they couldn’t detect any). When discussing the results with them, I realised the faecal coliform test is a different one, less specific than the e coli test, and I’ve asked them to retest for this.

I also asked the labs specifically about giardia, a parasite which some believe they have caught from the water. They do not test for this specifically, but apparently the presence of faecal coliforms and e coli is an indicator that other harmful microbes may be present, which is why they are tested for.

The water looks in great shape so far, but unfortunately I missed the one key test – I’ll update with those results when they’re available.

After speaking to Swift, they suggested there wasn’t a need for a separate test, as the results were very good and it would be very unusual to have faecal coliforms with the other results as they were.

Instead, I will do another test in a few months, so that we can be sure the water maintains its quality.