A microelectrode-based electrochemical detection method was used for quantitation of bacteria in water samples. The redox mediator, benzoquinone, was used to accept electrons from the bacterial metabolic pathway to create a flow of electrons by reducing the mediator. Electrochemical monitoring electrodes detected the reduced mediator as it diffused out of the cells and produced a small electrical current. By using a combination of microelectrodes and monitoring instrumentation, the cumulative current generated by a particular bacterial population could be monitored. Using commercially available components, an electrochemical detection system was assembled and tested to evaluate its potential as an emerging technology for rapid detection and quantitation of bacteria in water samples.