What's Living in Your Water?


Current Water Testing Standards

Current standards for identifying and analyzing microbes in water were developed in the 19th century. These involve culture and microscopy methods which identify one percent or less of the organisms found in a given sample.

Our Proprietary DNA Analysis

Microbe Detectives DNA Analyses identify nearly all microorganisms with a single scan. Our proprietary analyses provides an indication of the relative proportions of specific microorganism types present, in a clear and detailed report.

Globally, over 840 thousand people die annually due to water-related diseases and 750 million individuals lack access to safe, clean water. In the next 20 years, world population will grow by an additional 1.5 billion people (over four times the population of the United States). This will only increase water stresses. At the same time, water infrastructures in the developed world have aged and contain decades to a century or more of biofilms that wreak havoc on water quality control objectives. Fecal contamination of water supplies from agriculture, sanitary sewers and other sources are the cause of illnesses such as the stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis, and hepatitis. In the US, the EPA has estimated that up to 3.5 million people per year become ill due to contact with raw sewage from sanitary sewer overflows, and that ten percent of all water samples taken from American beaches exceed the protective benchmark for swimmer safety. Drinking water supply can also fail. The recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the 1993 disease outbreak in Wisconsin, which affected over 400,000 people, serve as painful reminders.

Improve Drinking Water Safety

Culture tests are the standard water testing methods for identifying microbial problems in drinking water systems. Microbe Detectives’provides powerful insights to further mitigate risks of water-related diseases, improve water quality, and reduce costs. Read more

Reduce Surface Water Related Diseases

Standard EPA-required tests cannot determine the source of fecal contamination in rivers, lakes and ocean beaches. Microbe Detectives DNA analyses identify the specific type of microbiological contamination and track the contamination to the source. Read more

Advance Wastewater Treatment Performance

Wastewater treatment is a microbial process that can be difficult to troubleshoot. With Microbe Detectives DNA analysis, nearly all microorganisms are identified with a single scan providing groundbreaking diagnostic insight on optimization opportunities. Read more

Optimize Process Water Performance

Process water is used in industrial, manufacturing, and process industries. Aquatic microbes develop and must be analyzed to ensure desired water quality. Microbe Detectives DNA analyses enable process engineers with critical diagnostic insights. Read more

Microbe Detectives Leadership and Advisory Board

Founded in 2013 by Trevor Ghylin during his Ph.D. work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Microbe Detectives accelerated the adoption of genomic technology in water testing applications. We were selected by The Water Council’s prestigious BREW Seed Accelerator program, the Rice University Business Plan Contest and by the Wisconsin Innovation Awards. Leadership: John Tillotson MS, CEO, Trevor Ghylin PhD, CTO and Tony Dallmier PhD. Advisory Board: Dr. Jay Bayne, Dr. Lynn E. Broaddus, Dr. Glen Daigger, Dr. William Dougan, Walter A. Foskett, Dr. David E.J. Garman, Dr. Andrew Jacque, Emad S. Isaac, Casey Nowicki, Ron Pote and Pat Whalen.

Dr. Trevor Ghylin PhD, PE
Dr. Trevor Ghylin PhD, PE

Clients Include

md customers

Allliance Partners

“Microbe Detectives provides a valuable service to monitor, troubleshoot and optimize wastewater treatment plants by providing comprehensive data on nitrifiers, phosphorus removing bacteria, filaments and foamers.”

Tom Fitzwilliams

Wastewater Team Leader, MSA Professional Services, Inc.

“Microbe Detectives provides a valuable service for investigating water quality in groundwater wells. Their analyses helped me detect surface water intrusion, metal related bacteria, fecal indicators, pathogens & bacteria that cause taste/odor issues.”

Andrew Jacque, PhD, PE

Founder and Chief Scientist, Water Quality Investigations

“…Microbe Detectives was the key to identifying and fixing serious problems in the distribution system so we could protect public health and minimize risk for the water utility. Finding these problems with typical investigation techniques could have taken months of effort. In fact, the problem may not have been detected until a health crisis occurred, since the municipality lacks the resources to perform routine facility inspections.”

Ann-Perry Witmer PE, LEED AP BD+C

Project Manager, Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC

“…Microbe Detectives has been incredibly accommodating and has extracted and analyzed the DNA from our environmental samples. They also quantified the array of bacteria present in the samples and supplied the collection of data in comprehensible formats with descriptions of the functions of known bacteria or bacterial classes. We are still in the process of gathering more samples and look forward to further help from Microbe Detectives in interpreting the data generated.”

Team Aquafix

Memberships and Associations

water association memberships

“Bourbon Gumbo” Street Water Findings: #2 was #1

Bourbon Street in New Orleans frequently has stagnant water sitting along the curbs at all hours of the day rain or shine. This phenomenon is somewhat unusual and is likely due to inadequate drainage as the street is more than 100 years old and doesn’t slope...

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What’s Living in “Bourbon Gumbo” Street Water?

Have you ever been to Bourbon Street in New Orleans? Microbe Detectives just got back from a great week at WEFTEC in New Orleans. We really enjoyed the culture, amazing food and great music, and it was a very successful business trip. However, we spent several nights...

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