Residential Analysis & Testing

Drinking Water

Because of waters different sources and the different ways in which water is treated, the taste and quality of drinking water varies from place to place. The best source for specific information about your drinking water is your water supplier. Water suppliers that serve the same people year-round are required to send their customers an annual water quality report (sometimes called a customer confidence report)

Under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), EPA sets standards for approximately 90 contaminants in drinking water. For each of these contaminants, EPA sets a legal limit, called a maximum contaminant level, or requires a certain treatment.
Water suppliers must meet these standards.

For more information on Drinking Water Maximum Contaminant Levels please visit the EPA website at:

http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html

Following are the most common reasons you may want to test your drinking water:

  • To ensure that the water is safe and clean
  • If water quality has changed due to recent plumbing work
  • To verify that any purification system installed is functioning properly
  • To set a baseline as a comparison if change occurs due to activities by neighbors-farmers or if the water source changes.
  • Requirements set forth from various lending organizations when purchasing a home or property

Commonly Used Terminology

Coliform: Used as an indicator for disease causing bacteria that may be present in water
E. Coli: Type of Fecal Coliform-A positive result is a strong indicator that human sewage or animal waste has contaminated the water supply
Fecal Coliform Bacteria: Type of Coliform bacteria that are especially numerous in animal waste
Nitrate: Caused by fertilizers
Iron & Manganese: Metals commonly found in ground water
Lead & Copper: Metals that may leach into your water supply from pipes.

Conditions or Reasons And What You Should Test For

The chart below will help you spot problems. The last five problems listed are not an immediate health concern, but they can make your water taste bad, may indicate problems, and could affect your well long term.

Conditions or Nearby Activities: Test for:
Recurring gastro-intestinal illness Coliform bacteria
Household plumbing contains lead pH, lead, copper
Radon in indoor air or region is radon rich Radon
Corrosion of pipes, plumbing Corrosion, pH, lead
Nearby areas of intensive agriculture Nitrate, pesticides, coliform bacteria
Coal or other mining operations nearby Metals, pH, corrosion
Gas drilling operations nearby Chloride, sodium, barium, strontium
Dump, junkyard, landfill, factory, gas station, or dry-cleaning operation nearby Volatile organic compounds, total dissolved solids, pH, sulfate, chloride, metals
Odor of gasoline or fuel oil, and near gas station or buried fuel tanks Volatile organic compounds
Objectionable taste or smell Hydrogen sulfide, corrosion, metals
Stained plumbing fixtures, laundry Iron, copper, manganese
Salty taste and seawater, or a heavily salted roadway nearby Chloride, total dissolved solids, sodium
Scaly residues, soaps don’t lather Hardness
Rapid wear of water treatment equipment pH, corrosion
Water softener needed to treat hardness Manganese, iron
Water appears cloudy, frothy, or colored Color, detergents