Thirsty? Your Glass of Tap Water Contains Millions of Good Bacteria and Microbes

They say water is the source of life. But what if someone told you that the tap water you drink is host to the lives of millions of bacteria?

According to a new study conducted by researchers at Lund University in Sweden, when you drink a glass of tap water, you’re consuming approximately 10 million bacteria and microbes found in a sticky coating found in drinking water treatment plants and on the inside of water pipes.

This thin coating, known as “biofilm” is essentially unavoidable for tap water drinkers. When you turn on your tap, the processes involved ensure that the living critters find their way into your glass.

Yet despite the inevitably of ingesting this bacteria, researchers say that it shouldn’t be a cause for concern. In fact, the bacteria and microbes are largely a good thing, as they are a large part of water purification that happens inside of the pipes.

“We suspect there are ‘good’ bacteria that help purify the water and keep it safe — similar to what happens in our bodies. Our intestines are full of bacteria, and most of the time when we are healthy, they help us digest our food and fight illness,” researcher Catherine Paul said.

According to Paul and fellow researchers, there is a great variety of among the microbes and bacteria, and for every milliliter of drinking water, Paul can see as many as 80,000 bacteria.

The researchers stressed that although the research took place in Sweden, biofilms are present in water pipes all over the world.

The researchers hope the study will help to update and improve water pipe systems, which typically need replacing after 40 years.

“The hope is that we eventually may be able to control the composition and quality of water in the water supply to steer the growth of ‘good’ bacteria that can help purify the water even more efficiently than today,” Paul said.

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