The most common contaminants found in household water in Wythe County were total coliform bacteria, hardness, sodium, E. coli and iron.
Total coliform bacteria presence is an indication that surface water may be entering a well and other more harmful microorganisms may be present. Total coliform was found in 49% of the Wythe County samples.
E. coli were found in 18% of the samples and are a sign that human or animal waste is entering the water supply.
Hardness is composed of calcium and magnesium, which originates in bedrock such as limestone.
Sodium concentrations above recommended levels are most likely the result of water softeners, used to remove hardness. Sodium can have negative health effects in excess levels.