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Drinking Water Fact Sheet: E. coli 0157:H7
Escherichia coli is a normal commensal organism for humans and many animals. While there are many harmless E. coli strains, E. coli O157:H7 can cause food- and waterborne illness. One route of human exposure to E. coli is through the consumption of contaminated drinking water. The bacteria are shed in animal and human fecal matter, and drinking water sources may become contaminated during rain or snowmelts that wash E. coli-contaminated wastes into surface and ground water. If the source water is not properly treated, drinking water may remain contaminated with E. coli.