Airlines Agree to Changes After Tests Finds Bacteria

The government and twelve airlines made a deal last Tuesday calling for mandatory testing for drinking water on aircrafts and sanitation improvements. These regulations were made after inspection officials found evidence of harmful bacteria in the water of one out of every eight planes that were tested.

The Environmental Protection Agency also recently announced that they plan to perform water quality test on 169 international and domestic aircrafts from 14 airports in the United States. These findings will eventually be published and should be released later this year. If the bacteria coliform is found, the airline would have 24 hours to disinfect aircraft, with the exception of those planes that are out of the country at the time.

EPA has previously tested 158 aircrafts, and found that 12.6 percent of the drinking water tested didn’t meet federal standards. Twenty of the planes tested were found to have cloriform, which is not harmful by itself, but could point toward the presence of other, more harmful bacteria. Of the twenty planes that tested positively for bacteria, two of the planes carried E. coli bacteria, which can cause gastrointestinal problems.

This recent news comes as a startling revelation for some frequent flyers, but not big enough of an issue to keep them out of the sky.

“I fly at least three times a year, so I’m a little disgusted to hear this,” said Beverly Burgess, 21, a student from California. “I don’t really drink water from the plane anyway, but I hope they fix the situation soon. We pay to much money for trips to have to worry about E. coli”!

Agreement to new regulations may be a financial burden for some airlines, because some aircrafts will have to fly to airports that have the equipment available to do the testing and flushing required. They are also required to find possible sources for contamination and report where they get their drinking water source.

The airlines in agreements with EPA are Alaska Airlines, Aloha Airlines, American Airlines, America West, ATA Airlines, Continental Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Midwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines and U.S. Airways.