Water Testing

Home water quality testing

Water is seldom pure, technically speaking. The trace minerals or impurities in drinking water give it a distinctive flavor. Problems arise when the impurities exist at high enough levels to impact health or give the water a bad taste. There are any number of quality issues that can beset home water supplies. Though these are usually associated with private water supplies, there can also be concerns with municipal water sources. As with air quality testing and mold testing, various water testing options are available to people who are worried about their drinking water.

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Aesthetic Issues

If soaps do not lather well, water that's too hard may be the problem. Water which gives chrome surfaces a reddish stain contains iron; likewise, red and slimy stains suggest the presence of bacteria that thrive in the presence of iron. Corroding pipes and a metallic taste may indicate water with low pH or acidity levels. Black stains can indicate the presence of manganese or hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide or bacteria that live in sulfur will produce a distinctive rotten egg odor.

Potentially More Serious Issues

Perform a water test if tap water tastes or smells bad. Cloudy water may be caused by anything from suspended particles to decaying matter. In addition, there may be other problems which can't be detected by taste, sight or smell. These tend to be more serious, and include the presence of nitrogen compounds, pesticides, herbicides or other pollutants. In all cases, a water test should be conducted to determine the nature and severity of the problem.

Public water systems must meet strict requirements, but a water quality test can provide personal assurance that contaminants have not entered the water supply after leaving the treatment plant.

Water Testing Kits

Home testing of water is becoming increasingly popular. However, it is impossible to test for all possible contaminants, so choices must be made to determine the most likely culprits. Water testing kits often check for some or all of the following:

  • Bacteria
  • Lead
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Sulfates and sulfides
  • PH
  • Alkalinity
  • Selected pesticides
  • Nitrates and nitrites
  • Total chlorine
  • Hardness

Water Quality Analysis

People with private water supplies and those dependent on wells should invest in a professional water quality analysis. This should be done at the initial hookup stage, and if there are no problems at that time, continue testing at least once per decade thereafter.

Well testing can be performed by almost any environmental testing laboratory. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains standards for thousands of compounds, but the test requirements vary from state to state depending on known local conditions, including geology and past land use patterns. Water quality testing can yield information that can be used to safeguard health.

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Posted on 9/5/2016 2:00:00 AM by Anonymous
I would like the pond in my back yard tested. How do I go about this. Dan Cavanaugh
Posted on 9/7/2012 12:43:00 PM by Anonymous
If a person has a positive nitrite reading in an UA for a bladder infection, can that be caused by nitrites in our drinking water?
Posted on 7/16/2012 1:21:00 PM by Anonymous
we have two small dogs one 8 lbs and one 12 lbs and just found out that our nitrate level is 17.1. Is it unsafe for them to be drinking this water? Allso my husband has been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitus...could this be caused by a high nitrate level?
Posted on 6/15/2012 6:35:00 PM by Anonymous
I understand that K.C watertesting is testing our water at Silver Creek Estates in Severn Township in Ontario, through Killam Properties. What I would like to know is how often it is actually done. According to Killam Properties it is done on a daily basis. I would like some documented proof that it is in fact happening. We would appreciate some feedback on this issue. Thank you very much for letting me inquire about this. Signed: Concerned Citizen
Posted on 3/2/2012 10:51:00 AM by Anonymous
if your alkalinity is high is it ok to drink alkaline water???????
Posted on 8/8/2011 12:40:00 PM by Anonymous