Health Ontario released the findings of their testing public drinking fountains from 20 locations in the greater downtown area of Toronto. Including public water fountains in City Hall, they have discovered that over half of them tested positive for the Coli bacteria as well as Legionella.
The unhealthy and potentially dangerous bacteria levels from several fountains was stated to be 'too high to count.' Coli counts are taken by examining a drop of water under a microscope and literally counting the visible bacterium. These numbers can be extrapolated to provide a ppm (parts per million) result.
Toronto City Hall has Unclean PublicDrinking Fountains too!
The water fountains tested at City Hall were found to have more bacteria than what is typically found in dog watering bowl commonly placed outside of public coffee shops and bistro eateries.
Coli bacteria is commonly found in the lower intestines and fecal excretia of warm-blooded organisms. Legionella is typically transmissible by aerosis (water droplets) and was named after its first outbreak in July 1976 at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia where it sickened 221 people and caused 34 deaths. There is no evidence that Legionella can be spread through personal contact.
On some forums that discuss diseases and health issues such as this, sometimes people cite that Legionella "only affected a very small number of people, andaged Veterans (stereotypically suggesting weakened immune systems with the elderly as a whole)" and that the maligned mystery disease that came to be known as Legionella disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. Legionella has been since been shown to have a potential for weaponization. Genetic modification of the strain Legionella pneumophila has suggested in animals studies to have a nearly 100% mortality rate.
At a time when it is becoming politically incorrect to buy non-deposit single-use (albeit, recyclable) plastic water bottles this new finding on the quality and health of public drinking fountains should scare people into thinking about the water quality in all public places. There was that report a year or more ago about how some restaurants serving ice in cold drinks was shown to have bacteria counts equal to or worse than toilet water.
It may be prudent to carry your own water from home in a reusable bottle that you do not share with anyone. Just like washing your hands thoroughly after using the washroom, this is a health factor that you can be in control of.