Does Berkey Remove Bacteria?

Yes, Berkey removes greater than 99.9999% of bacteria. See the test results

What is Bacteria?

Bacteria are single-cell simple organisms. They are microscopic, found nearly everywhere, and the variety nearly endless. Bacteria lack a nucleus but do have DNA. They also can produce their own proteins in the ribosomes, unlike viruses. Bacteria are considered alive, also unlike viruses, and are categorized as prokaryotes. The variations of bacteria are most visible in the exterior of the cell. Most have an outer wall and an inner membrane. However, mycoplasmas lack a cell wall. Others have another layer that can be long and stringy or short and stout, called flagella and pili respectively. These appendages are the legs or arms that move the bacteria. They can also be told apart by their shapes; cocci are round, bacilli are cylindrical, and spirilla are spiral-shaped.  

Good Bacteria

Bacteria often gets a bad rap but it's also crucially important to life on earth. Some bacteria live in the gastrointestinal tract (mostly the large intestine). Gut health relies on beneficial bacteria that break down food, it's what helps humans and animals digest food. Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain good bacteria. By ingesting them it adds more good bacteria to the digestive system. Beneficial bacteria also help balance out bad bacteria. 

Bad Bacteria

Bacteria cells outnumber human body cells at about ten to one in normal circumstances so it doesn't take much for the number of bacteria to take over regular functions. When the host body doesn't recognize bacteria as being favorable the immune system attacks them. The reaction can cause inflammation (swelling).


These single-celled organisms catch food and move it through their body by extending fingerlike projections of protoplasm. Amoebas are either free-living in damp environments or parasitic. They're loosely classified as a type bacteria. A particularly damaging amoeba is the Naegleria fowleri, aka the brain eating amoeba! It causes an infection in the brain (called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)) that leads to deterioration of brain tissue. 


types of bacteria

Health Risks of Bacteria

Any part of a human body is susceptible to a bacterial infection, internal or external. Almost all illnesses are bacterial; ear infections, food poisoning, cholera, diphtheria, dysentery, bubonic plague, pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB), typhoid, and many more. Bacteria's danger comes in its ability to reproduce rapidly, often overwhelming the host and causing harm. For example, Escherichia col, (aka E.Coli) can divide every 20 minutes.

An infection is a growth or invasion of germs which most often causes a fever but can include other malignant symptoms. The most detrimental factor of an infection is the ability to start anywhere in the body and spread rapidly. Bacteria split and multiply, without interference (such as antibiotics), never stop.

Being intentional with what we consume is one way to regulate the amount and type of bacteria in our bodies. Good bacteria can be found in yogurt, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh. Take out one risk of consuming bad bacteria by drinking clean, bacteria-free, Berkey water. 


Bacteria in Lab

Could Bacteria be in Your Drinking Water?

Yes! Bacteria not only can live just about anywhere, but they can also thrive in almost any condition. Bacteria are found in soil, plants, animals, radioactive waste, and water--including as far down in the ocean as 32,800 feet! Bacteria exist in the hottest and coldest parts of the earth including arctic glaciers and thermal hot springs. 

Discover which contaminants are present based on zip code location by using the Water Quality Search tool. 

How To Remove Bacteria From Water

Berkey Water Filter Systems are rated as a water purifier, not just a water filter. The Black Berkey Filters are so powerful that they prevent microscopic bacteria and viruses from getting into your drinking water. The Berkey purification process is multifaceted using several steps to stop contaminants. 

Related: What's the Difference Between a Water Filter and Water Purifier.

Microfiltration is the microscopic topography of the surface of the filter elements that contains millions of tiny holes that let water pass through. These holes are so minute that pollutants physically cannot pass through them. Furthermore, these micropores pass through the filter shell in convoluted twists and turn known as a “tortuous path,” further ensnaring the tiniest pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, sediment, and sedimentary minerals. Each cylindrical Black Berkey Filter is composed of a formulation of more than six different media types, all constructed into a very compact matrix containing millions of microscopic pores.  

Adsorption creates an ionic barrier similar to surface tension. The barrier spanning between the micropores blocks water contaminants, such as submicron viruses, that are smaller than the pore size itself. Berkey filters take advantage of viruses' electrostatic charge and pulls them in against the walls of the tunnels in the “tortuous path" of the filter. Similar to static cling, it holds tiny viruses against the surfaces in the filter and never lets go. 

Ion Exchange attracts contaminant ions to the carbon filter and then switches the molecules for a benevolent one. The Black Berkey filters are loaded with ions that attract contaminant molecules. Those molecules are absorbed and permanently bonded to the filter, never entering the drinking water in the bottom chamber of the Berkey. The chemical compounds are altered which completely changes their behavior and structure. 


Pregnant Woman Stands with Pet Dog

Do Berkey Filters Remove Bacteria?

Yes, based on test results from independent EPA-accredited labs across the country, Black Berkey filters reduce bacteria >99.9999% (6-log reduction) from water. Ensure that the area around your Berkey is clean and that the glasses, cups, or bottles you use for drinking water are also clean. We recommend routinely washing your Berkey chambers as well as the Black Berkey Filters. A Berkey can last decades if properly managed, and the filters can last for up to 6,000 gallons.

Browse the Berkey Filters to find the ideal product for your family. The Big Berkey is the most popular system size because of its versatility. Don't miss out on the best water purification.



Does Berkey Change the pH of H2O?

Alkaline. Acidic. Neutral. What should water be? What affects it?

Where is the Best Place to Buy a Berkey?

Is purchasing a Berkey worth it?

Are your kids drinking safe water?

Current water treatment standards are based on adult weights.