Photo shows a water sample being poured into the test vial

Test kits to speed up bacteria detection

A simple testing kit is helping to speed up the application of water treatment solutions by detecting the different types of bacteria present in water pipelines and wells.

By collecting a small water sample in a special testing vial, Biological Activity Reaction Test (BART) kits can identify the growth of iron-related bacteria, sulfate-reducing bacteria or slime-forming bacteria.

 It means organisations can quickly and effectively apply the correct treatment needed to flush out the bacteria and prevent further damage to water quality or corrosion of equipment.

 Mike Deed, managing director of Geoquip Water Solutions, says: “Water quality can easily be affected by different bacteria growth, yet it can be difficult to identify exactly what the problem is without major investigation.

 “For example, if allowed to build up, iron-related bacteria can have a major impact on the efficiency of pumping equipment, which in turn will affect both the flow and quality of the water and a decrease in well performance.

 “BART kits are simple and easy to use and allow the user to identify exactly what they are dealing with. Different bacteria strains require different treatment, so this enables the correct treatment solution to be applied quickly and effectively. We also recommend further testing then takes place to ensure the problem has been eradicated.”

 Once the water sample has been taken, over an eight-day period a series of indicators will develop within the test vial, depending on the type of bacteria present. Unlike some other tests, the kits do not have to be sent away to a laboratory for analysis, they can be monitored on site.

 For example, if iron-related bacteria is found, then a foam will be produced and/or a brown ring develops inside the testing tube; if slime-forming bacteria is found, a cloudy or gel-like growth will develop.

Dr Phil Ham, from specialist water consultants Envireau Water, says he believes the kits have a practical role to play.

“BART kits are simple and easy to use and provide a useful way of helping to understand what is going on downhole,” he said. “They will help identify problems with fouling and clogging so you know what you are dealing with and can put a plan together to resolve or manage the issue.

“The kits are of use to any experienced borehole contractor or consultant, and especially those working in the ground source heating and cooling sector. If you are reinjecting water back into the ground, then you need it to be clean and chemically stable. If it contains micro-organisms – or has the right conditions for them to grow – it will potentially lead to major problems.”

In addition to the borehole sector, the test kits can be used in any area where pipes and pipelines are present, including the petrochemical and oil industries, manufacturing and heating and plumbing sectors.

For more information about BART kits, visit