biological red growth near water outlets

I have noticed a biological red growth in my home. It occurs in the showerhead, vegetable sprayer head, and the coffee maker interior. I am attempting to identify it, but need some suggestions. I have not collected any samples yet, but plan to view the specimens under magnification using my microscope. I already spoke to the city water engineer who knows about existing pathogens that live in our water supply and is aware of the red biological growth but could not identify it. He believes it is a bacteria, I would not rule out a fungus. The red growth disappears when cleaned with household bleach, but returns in 2-3 weeks. Any ideas?
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no "ideas", but rather, familiarity :-) i used to get this (or what sounds like this, anyway) in the bathroom at our old house. here (different city, different water supply) i still see it build up to some degree, but far less - which really only tells me it is present here in the water supply (or somewhere) but in a lesser degree. i used to get it most around the taps, where water was inclined to splash & then sit there, & in the corners of the shower/bath arrangement (again where water would tend to sit). it would wipe off easily without bleach, however, if it was still wet. if the water dried out it would still be sitting there, looking more red, though (i used to scrub it off with a scourer, that worked). i must say i suspected it was more fungal than anything, but then, i suppose i never really thought about it all that much! i've never noticed it in anyone else's house, but that probably doesn't mean much (because i didn't go looking, either).
i'd be concerned about it lurking in the coffee maker!! (albeit not concerned about taps & heads etc). might it be something associated with older pipes & plumbing, perhaps, if this is the case at your house? my old house was 100 years old (& some of the plumbing was, too, gah). this one is only about 10 years, perhaps. here, it never looks any worse than pink. in fact i'd probably not notice it at all except that i've seen it before much worse iyswim. the worst it gets here is within the plughole, on those bits in the plughole to block solids, where water tends to sit.
so there you are - no doubt this post is completely useless to you but for the fact it's apparently a world-wide phenomenon!! water supplies are always full of dodgy pathogens to some degree, just in numbers well short of creating problems as a general rule. have you given any thought to the idea it might be lurking in greatest quantities inside your plumbing? is your house old? if you find out what it is, i'd be interested to know!! kylie
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It's the famous bacterium Serratia marcescens. It requires almost nothing to live. Because of the red color, it's an old favorite for experiments. It was thought to be harmless until Operation Sea Spray, when the Army burst balloons of it over San Francisco. That caused epidemics of pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
[Was Operation Ocean Spray the one where they burst balloons of cranberries to clear up those urinary tract infections?]
These bacteria usually arrive by air. Remodeling or opening windows can get things started. They tend to resist antibiotics because of R-factors on plasmids.
They won't grow in chlorinated water but may appear after a homeowner installs a charcoal filter to get rid of chlorine. A dilute mixture of bleach in water, such as 1 tablespoon per gallon, will kill it.
If a surface has been scratched from scrubbing, that will encourage growth and make it hard to clean.
--
Best Regards,
Lloyd

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Lloyd, you are absolutely correct! The best is bleach (1:10 dilution) and keep your bathrooms clean - once a week, scrub em out!
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Chris wrote:

Lloyd said 1 tablespoon per gallon. Here's a link that says that amounts to 200 ppm, the maximum concentration allowed under federal law for sanitizing food-processing equipment. http://osuextra.okstate.edu/pdfs/FAPC-116web.pdf
When contractors use bleach to remove the biofilm from inside pipes, they use special pumps to make the concentration even more dilute. Swimming pools are typically 3 ppm. Drinking water may be less than 1 ppm.
1:10 bleach:water ( About 5,000 ppm) is sometimes recommended when there's a lot of organic matter, but without a buffer the bleaching action may be very slow.
Lloyd should have recommended cleaning with borax and water. Borax is bacteriostatic. If a trace is left behind, that will inhibit microbes.
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I had the same problem in my shower. I call the color orange, but I guess it could be red. After reading some posts here, I mixed-up a solution that I spray the shower with every day. I put two cups of bleach in a one gallon jug, add two tablespoons of borax laundry powder (Twenty Mule Team), and a tablespoon of liquid dishwasher rinse aid and top the jug off with tap water. The mixture goes into a a misting bottle. I cleaned the shower very well and disinfected it with a 1:10 bleach solution to get rid of the bacteria that seems to form a biofilm. Afterwords, I used the solution each day. The problem has not returned.
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