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ID#:11790
Description:Under a moderately-high magnification of 2500X, this digitally-colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image of an untreated water specimen extracted from a wild stream mainly used to control flooding during inclement weather, revealed the presence of unidentified organisms, which included bacteria, protozoa, and algae. In this particular view, a microorganism is featured, the exterior of which is covered by numerous projections imparting an appearance of a sea urchin. This microscopic “pin cushion” was teathered to its surroundings by a biofilm within which many bacteria, and amoeboid protozoa could be seen enmeshed as well.
Though many organisms found in untreated waters are harmless, there are many that are pathogenic to both humans and animals, including Giardia spp., free-living amebae, and E. coli just to name a few. During power outages, the functionality of water treatment systems can be negatively affected, thereby, violating the patency of these closed systems. In these instances, advisories may be posted, encouraging inhabitants of these regions to boil their tap water in order to kill off any pathogenic organisms that may have entered the system due to an intrasystemic drop in positive pressure.

Not only do water treatment plants remove such pathogenic organisms, but chemicals that can be injurious to humans and animals are filtered from the water making it potable. Again, during power outages, or in the case of broken pipes, chemicals can contaminate tap water rendering it unsuitable to drink as well.

High Resolution: Click here for hi-resolution image (16.43 MB)
Content Providers(s):CDC/ Janice Haney Carr
Creation Date:2009
Photo Credit:Janice Haney Carr
Links:Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR); Homepage
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Public Health Advisories
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CDC Organization
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Copyright Restrictions:None - This image is in the public domain and thus free of any copyright restrictions. As a matter of courtesy we request that the content provider be credited and notified in any public or private usage of this image.

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