Campylobacter is the bacterial group that causes Campylobacteriosis, an infectious diarrheal disease. It is the most common source of bacteria-caused diarrheal disease in the United States, affecting around 2 million people every year. In immunocompromised individuals, Campylobacteriosis can be life-threatening.
Although most cases of Campylobacteriosis are associated with eating or handling raw meat, surface water, such as lakes and ponds, and groundwater sources can also become contaminated by Campylobacter. Water sources become contaminated when the feces of an infected person or animal enters the water, which can occur by sewage overflows, improperly maintained sewage systems, polluted storm, and agricultural runoff. Wells are particularly vulnerable to Campylobacter contamination after a flooding event, especially if the well is shallow, a dug or driven (bored) well, or submerged under water for a long time. Campylobacteriosis is more prevalent in the summer than in the winter.
If you suspect your water is contaminated, contact a state certified laboratory about getting your water tested.
Campylobacter may be killed or inactivated by bringing the water to a rolling boil for one minute (longer in higher elevation). It should then be allowed to cool in a clean, sanitized container with an air-tight cover and refrigerated.
Currently, there is no Point-of-Use (POU) or Point-of-Entry (POE) filter that can remove Campylobacter from contaminated water. However, if you would like to disinfect your well, contact your local health department.