Why Is Water Quality Testing Important?
Various tests can be carried out to determine water quality. Typically, these are performed using laboratory techniques. However, home test kits are also available. These kits provide quick and accurate results, but they are less precise than laboratory testing.
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Testing water quality involves several procedures to analyze the water’s chemistry and physical properties. In addition, the tests are performed to comply with safety procedures and regulatory requirements. It is important to note that water quality is dependent on the source of the water, the water’s location, and the end users. Hence, it is important to test water regularly to ensure safety.
Water quality parameters are established based on the chemistry of the source water. For example, dissolved oxygen is a major factor in determining the types of fish present in the water. The amount of organic matter present in the water also affects dissolved oxygen levels. Also, the pH of the water can affect the effectiveness of algaecides. Phosphorus is another nutrient that is considered to be of concern.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets standards for more than 90 contaminants found in public drinking water. These include lead, cadmium, and heavy metals. Some of these contaminants can cause cancers of the liver and kidney.
Other substances can affect water quality, including microbial contaminants. These organisms can cause gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and children are at higher risk of illness.
Some contaminants can also harm aquatic wildlife. For example, oil spills can kill plants and radioactive leaks can harm animals. Poor water quality can also lead to eutrophication. These conditions can cause the growth of algae and harmful microorganisms.
In addition, water quality can be influenced by high temperatures. This can lead to microbiological growth and system scaling. Water quality can also be affected by discharges from rivers and lakes. Downstream users may need to remove contaminants from their systems.
Water quality is monitored through a number of institutions. These include governmental and non-governmental organizations. These organizations maintain databases that provide access to a variety of public reports. They also provide links to official water quality reports.
Some of the major water quality parameters include dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, and nitrates. However, these parameters are rarely updated over time. In addition, the presence of suspended materials, including silt and clay, can affect the turbidity of water. This cloudiness can also shield disinfection processes.
Water quality is also affected by heavy metals. These metals can cause cancers of the liver, kidney, and urinary bladder. It is important to monitor water quality to determine if the water is safe to drink.
Water quality testing can also be done at home. There are various home kits available for testing water. These kits provide quick and accurate results, and they can be ordered online. However, they are not as precise as laboratory testing.
In addition to testing water, an institution should also have procedures in place to train new staff and recruit them. These procedures should include a sampling plan that includes a consideration of national standards and local context.