Water Test, Inc. tests for the following contaminants:
Coliform bacteria are a collection of microorganisms that are found in soil, surface water, vegetation, and animal waste. Coliform bacteria cause no observable odor, taste, or color change in water. Testing is the only way to determine if they are present. This is why it is important to have your water tested yearly. Coliform bacteria are reliable indicator organisms for testing water quality because they travel with disease producing organisms. The presence of coliform bacteria in water usually indicates that the water is unsuitable for drinking. A thorough chlorination process must be followed to eliminate the bacteria from the well. The water should then be re-tested to confirm the presence or absence of bacteria.
One group of coliform bacteria, fecal coliforms, is associated with human and animal waste. E.coli is a type of fecal coliform bacteria found in the intestines of both humans and animals. Some species of E.coli can cause health-related problems. Testing for total coliform bacteria is a reliable indicator for testing water quality because they travel with disease producing organisms. Waterborne transmission occurs through swimming in contaminated lakes, pools, or drinking contaminated water. The primary source of E.coli contamination in well water is the ground and soil around the well. The presence of E.coli in water is an indication of recent sewage or animal waste contamination. Water contaminated with E.coli is unsuitable for drinking. This is why it is important to have your water tested yearly. If E.coli bacteria are present, a thorough chlorination process must be followed to eliminate their presence from the well. The water should then be re-tested to confirm the presence or absence of bacteria.
Nitrates and nitrites are nitrogen-oxygen chemical units which combines with various organic and inorganic compounds. The major sources of nitrates or nitrites in drinking water include runoff from fertilizer use, sewage, and erosion of natural deposits. Nitrogen is an important parameter to monitor. Excessive amounts of nitrate or nitrite in water can cause methemoglobinaemia (blue baby syndrome) which can potentially be fatal. These contaminants can also cause adult illness and produce spontaneous abortion in cows. The EPA recommended limit for nitrates is 10 mg/L and for nitrites is 1 mg/L.
Lead is a metal found in natural deposits as ores containing other elements. It is sometimes used in household plumbing materials or in water service lines used to bring water from the main to the home. The main source of lead in drinking water is from corrosion of household plumbing systems. Lead and its compounds are poisonous and accumulate in the bone structure when ingested in amounts exceeding the natural elimination rate of about 300 ug per day. Accumulation of significant amounts of lead in the body may cause severe and permanent brain damage, convulsions, and death. The EPA recommended limit for lead is 0.015 mg/L.
pH is the measure of the hydrogen ion content of a solution. It measures the acidity or alkalinity of water. pH is measured on a scale of 0-14. A pH of 7 is neutral and is considered desirable in most cases. A pH above 7 indicates an alkaline, or basic, water condition that is not usually harmful in residential applications. A pH below 7 indicates an acidic water condition. When pH drops below 6.5, the water is corrosive to metal pipes. This not only means that the pipes , faucets, etc. can be damaged by low pH water, but also that the water can contain high levels of copper, lead, or zinc that have corroded out of the plumbing system. For this reason it is always desirable to raise the pH of the water as close to 7 as possible. Blue-green staining of fixtures and laundry are characteristic of acidic water. Green stains on plumbing fixtures are indicative of copper pipes being corroded by low pH water.
Iron in drinking water is a very common problem. It can enter a water system by leaching natural deposits and from iron-bearing industrial wastes, effluents from pickling operations or acidic mine drainage. Iron can do great economic damage when found in domestic water supplies. Iron levels over 0.3 mg/L cause several problems. It leaves reddish brown stains on laundry, porcelain fixtures, sinks and tubs. It also results in a metallic taste in the water. Higher levels of iron may also discolor the water or result in sediment. The EPA recommended limit is 0.3 mg/L.
Manganese in water is a common, naturally occurring problem. It can also be introduced by industry. Manganese is usually found in combination with iron. It causes a bitter taste in water, and at concentrations above 0.05 mg/L, it causes dark scale in pipes and water heaters. High levels of manganese cause black staining of plumbing fixtures and laundry, and clogs up submersible pumps and pipes. The EPA recommended limit is 0.05 mg/L.
Zinc is commonly found in many natural waters. The deterioration of galvanized iron and leaching of brass can add substantial amounts of zinc to water. Industrial effluents may also contribute large amounts of zinc to drinking water. Zinc is essential to human metabolism and has been found to be necessary for proper body growth. Although essential in our diet, high zinc concentrations in water can irritate the human digestive system. Levels above 5 mg/L cause a bitter metallic taste and opalescence in alkaline drinking water. High concentrations of zinc suggest the presence of lead and cadmium, common impurities from the galvanizing process. The EPA recommended limit is 5 mg/L.
Dissolved oxygen monitoring is important in the determination of the quality of drinking water. The effect of oxidation of wastes on streams, the suitability of water for fish and other organisms and the progress of self-purification can all be estimated from the dissolved oxygen content. Dissolved oxygen enhances the flavor of water. It is also essential for the survival of aquatic plant and animal life. Generally, 4 to 5 mg/L of dissolved oxygen content is a borderline concentration if considering an extended time period. For adequate game fish population, the dissolved oxygen content should be in the 8 to 15 mg/L range. Dissolved oxygen concentration varies with water depth, sludge deposits, temperature, clarity and flow rate. Low dissolved oxygen levels usually indicate serious pollution. Adequate amounts are crucial for fish life, but conversely, too much dissolved oxygen is corrosive to pipes.
Chlorine is the prevailing choice for disinfection and biofouling control of drinking water, waste water, industrial water conditioning and swimming pool water. Too much chlorine can be as harmful as too little, so chlorine must be monitored carefully. High quantities of chlorine can cause health-related problems. The level of chlorine residual for drinking water must be checked regularly. Monitoring chlorine residual is essential for successful and efficient chlorination. A minimum free chlorine residual of 0.2 mg/L should be sufficient to maintain disinfection. Chlorine residual over 1.0 mg/L is too high and leaves a bad taste in the water.
Phosphorous occurs in natural waters as one of the forms of phosphates. Phosphates enter water supplies from soil runoff, cleaning operations, water treatment, boiler blowdown, and sewage. Phosphorous may be added to water in municipal and industrial water treatment processes to control corrosion. A certain amount of phosphate is essential for most plants and animals. Although necessary for biological growth, too much phosphate causes excessive growth of aquatic plants such as algae which can be harmful. This occurs especially when large amounts of nitrogen are also present.
Tannins are organic materials dissolved in the water. It is a product of decomposed plant material which occurs in natural waters. They can interfere with water softener filter resin beds and impart a distinctive yellow-brown color to the water. Tannins can also be associated with organically bound iron. Levels above 0.5 mg/L cause light brown or yellowish stains on laundry and fixtures. These levels can also affect the taste of foods and beverages.
Copper occurs free and combined in nature in many minerals. Copper may exist in natural waters and effluents as a soluble salt or as suspended solids. The common sources of copper in drinking water are from corrosion of household plumbing systems or erosion of natural deposits. A small amount of copper is essential for plants and animals. Concentrations exceeding 0.1 mg/L are also useful for controlling algae and plankton growth. Quantities ranging from 0.02 - 0.1 mg/L are toxic for some fish, so its use for treating fish disease requires careful monitoring. Copper levels in drinking water over 1.0 mg/L result in a metallic taste and also cause blue-green staining on fixtures. The staining is usually associated with a low pH in the water. Copper levels above 1.3 mg/L can cause health related problems. The EPA recommended limit is 1.3 mg/L.
Fluoride occurs naturally in some ground waters, and a 1 mg/L level normally is maintained in public drinking water supplies for the prevention of dental cavities. Maintenance of the proper concentration of 1 mg/L is essential in maintaining effectiveness and safety of the fluoridation procedure. Fluoride levels over 2 mg/L may cause mottling, a discoloration of tooth enamel. Levels above 4mg/L can cause health related problems. The EPA recommended limit is 4 mg/L.
Sulfate is found in almost all natural water. Sulfate presence can cause a pungent odor and taste in drinking water and may have a laxative effect. It can also support the growth of sulfate reducing bacteria which converts the sulfate ions to hydrogen sulfide. The hydrogen sulfide gas, which is produced, causes a foul, rotten egg odor. Sulfur bacteria forms slimy deposits in pumps, pipes, softeners, and toilet tanks. Hydrogen sulfide also corrodes plumbing, tarnishes silver, and stains fixtures and laundry. The EPA recommended limit is 250 mg/L.
Water hardness is caused almost entirely by calcium and magnesium ions. The amount of these ions and the amount of time the water stays in contact with them determines the water hardness level. Hard water causes scale formation in boilers, boiler feedwater heaters, feed lines, and economizers. In cooling water systems, scale will develop in heat exchange equipment and wherever water circulates and is exposed to a temperature change. Hard water also causes "soap curd" on fixtures, tile, dishes, and laundry. The water also has a low sudsing characteristic. Hard water aggravates dry skin conditions, takes the shine out of hair, and clings to skin. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon. Hardness is measured as follows: Soft water is 0-1 GPG; Slightly hard water is 1-3.5 GPG; Moderately hard water is 3.5-7.0 GPG; Hard water is 7.0-10.5 GPG; Very hard water is 10.5 GPG & over.
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