Salmonella in Water Tanks

What is Salmonella? Salmonella is bacteria that cause infection of gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms include fever, diarrhea, stomach pain, chills, muscle pain, bloody stools, vomiting, dizziness, etc.

Salmonella infection treatment includes hydration, antidiarrheals, and antibiotics.

The cause of the disease is in the most cases consummation of infected uncooked meat or eggs. However, these gram-negative bacteria can also be found in water tanks. But how the hell do they get there?!

Woman suffering from abdominal pain. France
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How Salmonella Ends up in Water Tanks

In Bermuda, tank water infected with salmonella caused a health hazard back in 2015 and 2016. Scientists have discovered that the leading cause of the problem was the bacteria found in chicken. Chickens in water tanks on the rooftops?! I don’t think so!

You better think again, for chicken might be the source of the bacteria, but pigeons and lizards are carriers or mediators. These species share the same feeding ground, and that is how salmonella is being transmitted around. Pigeons and lizards then go on the rooftop and… there’s no nice way of saying this – they poop. The rain then washes that poop right into the water tank and this is the whole science of how the bacteria end up on your plate!

It sounds gross and it really is. Even if you do not use tank water for cooking, even if you wash the dishes in it, you can still get infected.

Beat the System

In order to avoid salmonella infection, treat the tank water like you treat food. That means boil it before you use it.

You should also chlorinate the water on a regular basis, and install a UV treatment system if possible. Using water filters will not work with bacteria.

Cleaning rooftops and gutters from animal feces will also do wonders in reducing the risk of salmonella infection.

My Family is Infected, Help!

If some of the above-mentioned salmonella infection symptoms persist, immediately contact your physician. Long-term diarrhea and vomiting can cause severe dehydration and might require hospitalization. However, in most cases, symptoms fade away within a couple of days with proper care.

If you take medications your doctor has prescribed, all you can do is wait for them to start working.


To avoid this inconvenience in the future, treat your rooftop water tank as described. Also, make sure to wash your hands regularly. Prepare the food with caution, wash fruits and vegetables with clean or boiled water, and never eat raw eggs or meat.


Salmonella is a gram-negative bacteria that causes gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea and vomiting. It can be found in meat, eggs, and even in water. A couple of years ago salmonella in water tanks caused a health hazard in Bermuda. Chickens transmitted the bacteria to pigeons, who then infected the water in the tank.

To avoid this problem, keep your rooftop clean from animal feces, chlorinate the water, and boil it before use.


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