How Water Testing Protects Your Family
How Water Testing Protects Your Family
Water is an essential component of our lives. We use it for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. However, the quality of the water in our homes varies by location and even neighborhood. For example, living up or downstream or near a landfill or industrial plant impacts your home water quality. Due to environmental or other reasons, water can be contaminated with a variety of harmful substances, including bacteria, lead, arsenic, and more. That’s why it’s essential to regularly test the water in your home, particularly if you rely on well water, to ensure that it’s safe and healthy for consumption.
Why is Water Testing Important?
Water testing is essential in ensuring the safety and quality of the water in your home. Contaminated water can cause a range of health problems, from gastrointestinal issues to potentially serious conditions, such as various types of cancer. Additionally, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to the effects of contaminated water.
Water can be contaminated with a variety of harmful substances, and while some contaminants enter the water supply through natural processes, such as erosion and mineral deposits, others are typically the result of human activities, such as industrial pollution and agricultural runoff. As a result, water testing is important because it identifies these contaminants and allows professional technicians to implement filtration equipment to improve the quality that helps protect your family. Proper water testing primarily looks for the following contaminants that lead to potential quality issues.
- Iron – As rainwater infiltrates the soil and underlying geologic formations, it dissolves iron, causing it to seep into aquifers that serve as sources of groundwater for wells.
- Hard water – Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk which are largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates.
- Soft water – Soft water naturally occurs where rainfall and the drainage basin of rivers are formed of hard, impervious and calcium poor rocks.
- Low or high pH (acidic/basic) – pH is a measure of how acidic/basic water is.
- Arsenic – A primary source of arsenic in drinking water wells is from the water flowing through arsenic-rich rocks and soil.
- Manganese – Manganese is a mineral that naturally occurs in rocks and soil and is a naturally occurring groundwater mineral, but may also be present due to underground pollution sources.
- Uranium – Uranium occurs naturally in bedrock and groundwater; therefore, wells are susceptible to this common water contaminant.
Additionally, towns and municipalities, continue to learn more about the potential dangers of PFAS in public and private water supply. For reference, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlights some common ways consumers may become exposed to PFA chemicals. And, one of the most common paths to exposure is the local drinking water, which is why PFAS water testing is important. Furthermore, the most common ways PFAS enter the water supply relate to improper drainage, improper disposals, stormwater runoff, and/or air emissions (typically of a manufacturing facility). The end result is PFAS contaminating city water and well water. PFAS testing can help determine if your water supply is being affected.
What are the Types of Water Testing?
There are several types of water testing available, each designed to identify different contaminants. Importantly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that existing rules aimed at protecting public drinking water supply are not applicable to privately owned wells, which means homeowners are responsible for ensuring quality water for consumption and usage. Here are some common types of water testing:
- Lead Testing – Lead is a toxic metal that can enter the water supply through old lead pipes and plumbing fixtures. Lead can cause developmental delays in children, as well as other health problems.
- Coliform Testing – Coliform bacteria are microbes and testing looks for “total coliforms” because if the total coliform count is high, then it is very possible that harmful germs like viruses, bacteria, and parasites might also be found in the water.
- Fecal Coliforms – Fecal coliform bacteria are a specific kind of total coliform, of which E. coli is part of. While fecal coliforms and E. coli are usually harmless, a positive test may mean that feces and harmful germs have found their way into your water system or well.
- Bacteria Testing – Bacteria such as E. coli and coliforms can enter the water supply through human and animal waste and generally cause gastrointestinal issues, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Arsenic Testing – Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that can enter the water supply through erosion and mineral deposits. Arsenic exposure can cause a range of health problems, including skin lesions, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
- Nitrate Testing – Nitrates are a common contaminant that can be found in well water and generally comes from animal waste, private septic systems, wastewater, flooded sewers, polluted stormwater runoff, fertilizers, agricultural runoff, and decaying plants. The presence of nitrate in well water also depends on the geology of the land around your well. A nitrate test is recommended for all wells.
Is DIY Water Testing Helpful?
Some homeowners may understand the importance of water testing, but view the task as a common project. As a result, there are several DIY water testing kits on the market, which generally come with instructions and all the materials needed to test your water at home. While DIY water testing can be helpful, it’s essential to note that they may not always provide a complete and accurate picture of your water quality.
Unfortunately, DIY water testing kits are typically designed to test for a limited number of contaminants. While they may be able to detect some common contaminants such as lead or bacteria, they may miss others, which may cause health concerns for you and your family. Additionally, and importantly, DIY kits likely will not identify the source of the contamination, making it difficult to determine the best course of action for addressing the issue.
Why Professional Water Testing Is Critical to Protect Your Family
Professional water testing is typically the best way to ensure that your water is safe and healthy for consumption because it provides a more comprehensive analysis of your water quality and identifies contaminants that DIY kits may miss. Additionally, professional testing is especially important if you suspect that your water may be contaminated or if you have a private well because water technicians have the training and expertise needed to conduct a thorough analysis of your water quality. They can also identify the source of the contamination and recommend the best course of action for addressing the issue, which is the critical component to ensuring high quality water.
Using a professional water technician offers several benefits when it comes to ensuring the safety and quality of the water in your home. Here are some of the key benefits of using a professional water technician:
- Comprehensive Analysis – A professional water technician has access to specialized equipment and testing methods that can detect a wider range of contaminants than DIY kits, which provides a more complete picture of your water quality and help homeowners make informed decisions about how to address any potential issues.
- Expertise and Experience – Professional water technicians have the training and experience needed to conduct a thorough analysis of your water quality, along with remaining knowledgeable about the latest testing methods and any new recommendations or other solutions.
- Identification of Sources of Contamination – Professional water technicians identify the sources of any contamination found in your water, which is important because it helps prevent further contamination from occurring in the future.
- Regulatory Compliance – In some locations, professional water testing may be required to comply with local, state, or federal regulations. For example, if you have a private well, you may be required to have your water tested regularly to ensure that it meets certain standards.
- Peace of Mind – Perhaps most importantly, using a professional water technician can give you peace of mind knowing that your water is safe and healthy for consumption. Water quality issues can be difficult to detect, and contaminants can pose serious health risks if left unchecked. By using a professional water technician, you can be confident that your water has been thoroughly tested and that any issues have been addressed.
Water testing is an essential step in ensuring the safety and quality of the water in your home. While DIY testing can be helpful in limited use cases, it’s important to note that it may not always provide a complete and accurate picture of your water quality. Conversely, working with a professional water technician offers several benefits, including a more comprehensive analysis of your water quality, identification of sources of contamination, and peace of mind.
At the Aqua Pump Company, we believe Connecticut residents should understand their home water quality. Our treatment and water filtration team provides FREE water testing to help identify any common contaminants and offer a personalized solution for your home water needs. For more information on learning about your home water supply, contact Aqua Pump today!