Bacterial Pollution Definition, Causes, And Possible Solutions

Are you concerned with bacterial pollution?

Would you like to learn more about what this type of pollution really is and how it can affect you?

Do you think you may be dealing with bacterial pollution in your water supply already?

In this article, you’ll be able to learn a bacterial pollution definition that you can share with others in the future. You’ll find out what this type of pollution is really like as well as what causes it most frequently. And don’t forget to stick around for the end of the article, too, where we’ll let you know some of the consequences of this problem.

Bacterial pollution is, simply put, a type of pollution that is caused by bacterial buildup in the water supply. However, there’s a lot more to it than that, so it’s very important to fully understand what you’re dealing with when you think about this type of pollution. By checking out the information we have put together for you below, you’ll be better able to understand this type of pollution and fight back against it, too.

Read on to learn more.

Bacterial Pollution Description

There are several different types of bacterial water pollution, but no matter which one you’re dealing with, there are a few characteristics they all have in common. In this section, we’ll give you a quick rundown of what bacterial pollution can do to water and how you can be on the lookout for this potential issue in your own water supply.

microbial contaminants
  • When bacterial pollution is caused by microorganisms, it can sometimes be possible to see the organisms swimming in the water. This is not always the case, however, so don’t assume that just because you don’t see something floating in your water that it’s fine to drink. This is just the first of many ways you can tell if something’s going on with your water supply.
  • If your water looks like a different color than it normally is—especially if it’s yellow or brown—it may be contaminated with bacteria. This can also be a sign of a variety of other types of pollution, so no matter what, keep on the lookout for discolored water.
  • Water that smells bad is often polluted with bacteria. Bacterial pollution can sometimes smell like ammonia or like a “rotting” smell, but other times, it may have no smell at all. Again, just like the appearance of your water, this isn’t enough alone to be sure your water supply is not polluted with bacteria.
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    In very rare instances, the way your water feels may be an indicator that it’s polluted. Gritty water is often polluted with sediments. However, bacterial pollution rarely changes the overall feeling of the water, but that doesn’t mean it can’t. If you notice your water feeling different than it ever has before, this is a good sign you should get it checked out sooner rather than later.
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    Often, water polluted with bacteria tastes funny. Again, this isn’t always true, but it may taste “bad” or otherwise off in some way.

Bacterial Pollution Causes

Now that you know a little bit about what bacteria-polluted water may look, smell, and feel like, it’s important to understand where these types of pollutants come from.

1. Sewage. 

sources of microbial contamination

Whether you’re on a septic system or city sewage, if there’s damage to the pipes that carry sewage from your home, then that sewage is going to leach out into the surrounding groundwater and cause pollution. Bacterial pollution often comes from sewage because people and cities don’t keep up with the maintenance of their pipelines well enough. Remember that, if you have damaged sewage pipes on your property, there’s a good chance the bacteria from feces is getting into your water supply through the groundwater in your yard. Yuck!

2. Wildlife. 

This is one of the problems that humans don’t really have anything to do with, but it’s important to remember anyhow. Wildlife use streams and creeks for urination and defecation in some instances. In other cases, wildlife may even die in these water sources. This is all natural, but it still contributes to the cause of water pollution from the bacteria associated with this wildlife. This is one of the many reasons why you should never drink water you find in nature until you can treat it, boil it, or otherwise make sure it’s been decontaminated.

3. Polluted Storm Water. 

 bacterial pollution causes

Storm water is water that runs over surfaces like driveways and roads before entering storm drains and leaching into the groundwater in your area. This type of water can become easily polluted by all sorts of substances that may be present on the surfaces it passes over. Bacteria is just one of the many contaminants that may pollute storm water.

4. Agriculture. 

Animals used in agriculture cause similar bacterial water pollution as wildlife does when they urinate or defecate and their waste seeps into the local groundwater. Farms need to be more responsible for cleaning up and otherwise ensuring that their animals do not contribute badly to the problem of bacterial water pollution.

5. Natural Disasters. 

Last but not least, natural disasters often cause water pollution of many types, including bacterial. Again, humans can’t really do anything about this, since it sometimes just happens. However, when a natural disaster strikes, sewage lines are damages, animals die, and storm water floods areas that it should not be able to reach normally. Under these circumstances, bacteria enters the water supply very quickly and soon makes the local water non-potable. This is why it’s crucial to have clean water or a method for purifying water on hand for the unfortunate situations in which disaster may strike.


There’s a lot to learn about bacterial water pollutants, and we’ve really only scratched the surface of this serious problem. It’s important to understand, too, what can happen when water gets badly polluted with bacteria. Here are a few bacterial pollution consequences to keep in mind:

 bacterial pollution description
  • Bacterial pollution can affect your drinking water. Drinking bacteria may make you, your children, or your pets very sick.
  • This type of pollution may affect the water you use to wash your clothes, your body, and your food. Exposure to bacterial pollutants is dangerous no matter how you are exposed.
  • When water gets polluted with bacteria and then used to water crops and animals used for food, you are still ingesting that water and still being exposed to the pollutants present in it.

Keep all this in mind to better understand just why we need to be paying attention to bacterial pollutants in our water supplies. With enough information to help you along, you’re sure to soon become an activist for cleaner water. You may even be able to start making a difference in your own home that will eventually catch on and spread to everyone you know and help cut down on bacterial pollution where you live.