Water, the essence of life, is threatened by bacterial contamination. Coliform count is the major tool to determine the bacteriological quality of water. The determination is quite easy and informative. The different methodologies are employed depending on suitability by maximum probable number (MPN) which is the most accepted. The environment conditions like sunlight, water salinity, temperature etc. provide simple concepts to justify the coliform counts at various places. Faecal coliforms are discussed here with special emphasis as these which are very significant indicators of faecal contamination. Though uncomplicated, coliform counts also determine framing policies for safe and healthy living. However, caution has to be taken while interpreting the coliform data. This paper aims to present the best for understanding the coliform data and interpreting them in a justifiable way.
Key words: Enterobacteriaceae, total coliforms, faecal coliform, Escherichia coli, Enterococci, Streptococcus, maximum probable number.
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