Water Quality Testing

When should I Have My Water Tested?

If you are purchasing a home, whether an existing home or a newly built home, you should have the water tested to protect the health of you and your family. If your drinking water comes from a private household well and not from a public water system, then you as the home owner are responsible for making sure that it is safe to drink. Here are a few factors you might want to look at.

You should test the water supply every year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels, especially if you have a new well, or have replaced or repaired pipes, pumps, or the well-casing.

Other things you should be aware of other than illness would be the taste, the odor of the water coming from the faucets, and staining of the fixtures. Here are some things to help you determine when and how often you should test your well water.

How often should I test? Even if you currently have a safe water supply, testing your water on a regular basis is valuable because it establishes a record of water quality. These records are helpful in solving any future problems.

Recurrent gastro-intestinal illness? If you have recurring gastro-intestinal illness, it may be coliform bacteria in your water supply

Are you expecting a new baby in the household? Test in the early months of the pregnancy and again before bringing an infant home.

Do you have taste, odor, and staining issues? Test for sulfate, chloride, iron, manganese, hardness, and corrosion every three years. If you suspect other contaminants, test for these also.

Chemical or fuel spills? Has there been a chemical or fuel spill near your water well? If so you should have your water tested.

 

Other things you should check:

  • Is the septic tank and field far enough away from the wellhead?
  • What type of plumbing do you have – copper, plastic or galvanized piping? Some plumbing contains lead.
  • Scaly residues and soaps don’t lather
  • Water appears cloudy, frothy, or colored rather than clear
  • Corrosion of pipes, plumbing
  • Rapid wear of water treatment equipment
  • Nearby areas of intensive agriculture
  • Oil or Gas drilling operation nearby
  • Odor of gasoline or fuel oil, particularly if your property is near a gas station or buried fuel tanks
  • Dump, junkyard, landfill, factory, or dry-cleaning operation nearby
  • Salty taste, or a heavily salted roadway nearby
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