Clostridium perfringens

Cathal Walsh
Environmental Blogger
Monday, 17th June 2019
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Clostridium Perfringens

Table of Contents

Maximum amount allowed in water:


What is it?

Clostridium Perfringens (C. perfringens) is defined as ‘a Gram-positive, rod shaped, anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium’. C. perfringens can be found as a normal component of decaying vegetation however it is also found in the intestinal tract of humans and other vertebrates and is present in most faeces. C. perfringens spores are resistant to environmental stress and can survive in water for longer than other bacteria, including E.coli.


How does it get into water?

It is quite likely to be in a surface water supply and unlikely to be in a ground water supply unless there is a pathway by which contamination could occur. The main reason why many make note of C. perfringens is that it is a useful indicator of likely faecal contamination. It is resistant to environmental stress and can survive in water longer than E-Coli so it is also a useful in


Does it pose a risk to health?


Clostridium Perfringens in itself does not pose a risk to health when present in drinking water (although it does when present in food).  The risk here is the fact that if Clostridium Perfringens is able to get through the treatment process, then other more harmful bacteria may also be able to get through the treatment process.


How do I check for it?

Purchase a water test from an accredited laboratory to check for the  overall amount of bacteria present in the water.


What do I do if it is present?

Implement a robust strategy to ensure that faecal contamination may not enter the water supply. Also ensure the disinfection system is fully functioning and capable of disinfecting bacterial contamination.


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