It is important to do regular water quality testing for several reasons. In most cases, testing helps you stay one step ahead of possible contaminants that can hurt your family. If you test your water regularly, you will have the knowledge of when you need to use a filtration system. You will also know the level of contaminants that are in your supply so you can choose the right product. Water quality testing can also give insight into any serious health problems you’re experiencing and can help to identify any harmful chemicals in your water supply.
Yet, even with the importance of water quality testing, most still tend to forget testing until the problem has already been done. By then, it is too late to do anything about it. Don’t wait until you start to notice problems with your water supply before you set up an annual checkup or purchase a filtration system. While these are great products, they only work if you catch the problem in its early stages. Waiting till you’re in the middle of an outbreak makes it too late to do much of anything.
So, how should you go about doing your own water quality testing? First, you need to look at where you get your supply. Only bottled water is completely safe from contamination. Tap water can have traces of contaminants and bacteria in it, and the long periods it spends in pipes waiting to be processed can add up over time. This is why it’s a good idea to buy a lab that specializes in environmental protection and perform a sample analysis for you.
It is also important to check out the type of water source you have. Determining if a particular water supply contains any contaminants is not the same as testing for every kind of contamination present. For example, rust and iron contamination isn’t something you’d want in your drinking water, so don’t expect to find any on your tap water supply. However, if you have a well that transports your water source into a municipal facility, there might be traces of heavy metals like copper that are present in the water, even if the facility uses ultra-violet light to kill bacteria.
There are several different types of analytical testing available, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The best option is to choose a group that performs both point-of-use and comprehensive analytical testing. These groups test for the most common contaminants, like herbicides, pesticides, and benzene, as well as the most serious environmental contaminants, like radioactive compounds or chlorine. They also perform routine maintenance testing, such as ensuring proper corrosion control at wastewater treatment facilities. They can also test for contamination using sensitive gas chromatography, turbidity measurement, and pH testing.
Most state and federal labs will provide quality testing for your drinking supply as long as the water passed certain stringent standards. If the lab cannot perform the tests, it’s not worth spending the money. In fact, most state and federal labs require the research facilities to test the samples for their own facilities and make sure they meet the standards. Since most states require laboratories to perform certain tests, the only way to get it is to ask. But, if you’ve already contracted a lab to test for contamination, and the results show that your well or the reservoir is contaminated, it’s an easy decision whether or not to allow the contaminated wells to continue operating.
There’s no one rule for determining whether a laboratory should perform this testing. Each state is responsible for setting its own criteria for what should be tested for, how those tests should be performed, and how the results should be interpreted. The best practice is to let the testing professionals determine how to interpret the results. The EPA recommends that laboratories perform combined water quality and environmental assessment at the same time. This way, researchers can look for trends and contaminants that may be present in both sources, which can help them determine which sources require immediate attention and which can wait.
Most of the time, the answer is “no.” The problem is that sometimes “no” means “yes” when it comes to municipal water systems testing for certain contaminants. Just because a lab finds levels of a certain contaminant that exceed EPA limits does not mean that the source is bad. A careful balance needs to be struck between reducing risk and ensuring safety.