What Do We Test For When Testing For Water Quality?
When it comes to testing for water quality, there are a lot of different things that can be tested for. Some of them are easy to test for, while others require a lot more time and effort. Whether you’re buying a home with a private well or just want to make sure your water is safe to drink, there are some basic tests that can be done to help ensure you’re drinking safe water.
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Identifying what’s in the water can help you determine how healthy your water is and whether it needs to be treated before it’s ready to drink. Besides the more traditional physical indicators like hardness, color, and turbidity, there are also some chemical contaminants that you can check for.
pH — the acidity level of your water — is another important indicator of how clean it is. If it’s too acidic, it could damage your pipes and cause a buildup of metals in your water supply. EPA recommends keeping the pH at a range of 6.5 to 8.5.
Total Dissolved Solids — the number of inorganic salts and minerals in your water — is another important indicator. TDS consists of sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfate, as well as other substances that are not visible to the naked eye.
Color — the presence of color in your water is a good indication of its overall quality and healthiness. Some contaminants, such as lead or copper, can change the color of your water, which can indicate how toxic it is.
Nitrate-Nitrite as N — the presence of nitrates and nitrites in your water is an important indicator of the presence of harmful chemicals that can cause illness and damage to your body. The EPA recommends drinking water with Nitrate-Nitrite at N levels of less than 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L).
Bacteria — the presence of bacteria in your water is an important indicator of how healthy it is. There are many types of bacteria, including E. coli, Legionella, and Salmonella, which can make you sick when they’re present in your water. However, many other kinds of bacteria are not a concern when they’re present in your water.
Viruses — the presence of viruses in your water is an important indicator of how safe it is. Viruses are tiny, single-celled organisms that can affect the DNA structure of your cells. They can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms if they’re present in your water.
Other Indicators of Water Quality — Some other indicators of water quality include turbidity, cloudiness, and particulate matter. Particles in your water can indicate rust or other contaminant problems in your plumbing system, as well as the fact that your pipes are old and corroded.
When it comes to testing for water quality, you should always try and get a third-party opinion from a professional. In some cases, your local water supplier can offer a quick turn-around on home tests, but in many cases, you’ll need to send your sample to a laboratory for an accurate, detailed report of the results.