Detection of Pathogenic and Non-pathogenic Bacteria in Drinking Water and Associated Biofilms on the Crow Reservation, Montana, USA
Crystal L. Richards, Susan C. Broadaway, Margaret J. Eggers, John Doyle, Barry H. Pyle, Anne K. Camper, Timothy E. Ford
Private residences in rural areas with water systems that are not adequately regulated, monitored, and updated could have drinking water that poses a health risk. To investigate water quality on the Crow Reservation in Montana, water and biofilm samples were collected from 57 public buildings and private residences served by either treated municipal or individual groundwater well systems. Bacteriological quality was assessed including detection of fecal coliform bacteria and heterotrophic plate count (HPC) as well as three potentially pathogenic bacterial genera, Mycobacterium, Legionella, and Helicobacter. All three target genera were detected in drinking water systems on the Crow Reservation. Species detected included the opportunistic and frank pathogens Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium gordonae, Mycobacterium flavescens, Legionella pneumophila, and Helicobacter pylori. Additionally, there was an association between HPC bacteria and the presence of Mycobacterium and Legionella but not the presence of Helicobacter. This research has shown that groundwater and municipal drinking water systems on the Crow Reservation can harbor potential bacterial pathogens.
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