Water Quality Testing

Water contaminants can be responsible for numerous taste quality and health concerns. Our water test will look for any common contaminants, including those you can't see, smell, or taste.

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Water Quality Testing

Drinking water quality varies from place to place, depending on the condition of the source water from which it is drawn and the treatment it receives. There is no such thing as naturally pure water. In nature, all water contains some impurities. You should regularly test the water you're drinking. A clean, constant supply of drinking water is essential to everyone.

Water Quality TestingWater quality testing is a specialized but simple test that checks a home's water supply for contaminants and pollutants, such as chlorine, lead, and coliform bacteria.  Testing can also reveal chemical imbalances of the pH, and other attributes, such as hardness. Testing ensures that the home's water is potable and safe for everyday use. With some basic training and equipment, home inspectors can offer water quality testing as an ancillary service or as part of their standard home inspection.

Water Quality or Potability Testing May Be Required

In many areas, mortgage lenders require water quality testing for properties with private wells. Testing a community well may not be required by individual lenders, as this is normally the purview of the municipality. Most lenders will accept a home inspector as an independent tester, who's required to check for bacteria, including E. coli and coliform. The results for such tests are usually available within 48 hours. Tests for minerals and other contaminants may take weeks to complete.

What Testing Can Reveal

Public and private water supplies should be tested because they may be affected by the following:

  • dangerous levels of bacteria, including E. coli and coliform;
  • elevated levels of nitrates and nitrites from fertilizers that leach into the groundwater;
  • fluoride levels;
  • mineral contaminants, such as iron and arsenic;
  • heavy metal contamination, including lead; and
  • water hardness.

Performing Water Quality Testing

The EPA recommends that a residential water supply be tested annually for bacteria, nitrates, solids, pH levels, and other factors. The frequency of these tests may be increased based on the age of the home's occupants (infants are particularly susceptible to the effects of lead exposure), whether there are known risks of contamination, or whether any repair or construction work was recently conducted on or around the well or plumbing system. The EPA lists many conditions for whether a water quality test should be performed.

Guidelines provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that water samples be taken from locations that are representative of access points to water. Sampling should be done uniformly and at zones that are particularly high-risk. After collecting samples, testing should be done to determine the level of contamination. Remediation should be performed, if necessary; the EPA and WHO advise that remediation be carried out only by those trained to do so.