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Tag: Water

What is Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made building water systems like

  • Showerheads and sink faucets
  • Cooling towers (structures that contain water and a fan as part of centralized air cooling systems for building or industrial processes)
  • Hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use
  • Decorative fountains and water features
  • Hot water tanks and heaters
  • Large plumbing systems
  • Grocery store mist machines.

After Legionella grows and multiplies in a building water system, water containing Legionella then has to spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in.

Less commonly, people can get sick by aspiration of drinking water containing Legionella. This happens when water accidently goes into the lungs while drinking.

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Private Water Well Information

Many rural areas have private water wells. It is important to maintain them to keep water safe.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has many resources at Topics include lists of contractors, water well owner training and fact sheets, and certified laboratories. For more information, contact:

Pam Chaffee

More resources are available at


Avoid the Raw Water Fad

Water is essential for life. So access to safe water is critical for all forms of life. As 2018 begins, a new food fad is spreading to drink “raw water”, or untreated water. People are literally buying it at a premium cost.

Proponents of this dangerous trend claim it has beneficial minerals and is not treated with any chemicals. Those drinking this water claim their “skin is plumper” and they feel they are getting better nutritional value from food.

This fad is dangerous for many reasons. Here are five dangerous microorganisms that can be found in untreated water.

  • Giardia—a parasite that invades the gastrointestinal (GI) system and causes diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps.
  • Cryptosporidium—a parasite that causes diarrhea and can survive outside of the body for a long time.
  • Campylobacter—a bacteria that affects the GI system and is resistant to many antibiotics.
  • Salmonella—causes diarrhea, fever and cramps for days. Hospitalization is common.
  • E. coli—many strains can cause GI disease, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and more.


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Using Well Water in Canning

If you use well water, annual testing for water safety is important. If your report shows high levels of nitrate and/or nitrite, steps must be made to make the water safe.

In home canning or in cooking, boiling the water will not remove nitrate or nitrite. In fact, heat will concentrate and increase the content. The Environmental Protection Agency states the maximum total nitrate and nitrite level is 10 parts per million.

Treat well water with anion exchange, distillation, electrodialysis or reverse osmosis processes. Contact a water treatment professional to select the right treatment for your well water.

Source: and

For more information and resources about well water in Kansas, see



Safe Water
Over the past 45 years, the proportion of outbreaks associated with private water sources has increased.

Water is essential for all life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that about one in nine Americans get their water from private wells. About one in five sampled private wells are considered unsafe.

The CDC wants to help health departments reduce harmful exposures from private well water sources. The Safe WATCH program can help identify gaps in local health department programs and then take actions to correct problems.

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