The following items will help you determine when to test your drinking water supply.
How frequently should I test?
Test water every year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids and pH levels, especially if you have a new well, or have replaced or repaired pipes, pumps or the well casing.
Do you expect to have a new baby in the household?
Test for nitrate in the early months of a pregnancy, before bringing an infant home, and again during the first six months of the baby’s life. It is best to test for nitrate during the spring or summer following a rainy period.
Do you have taste, odor, and staining issues?
Test for sulfate, chloride, iron, manganese, hardness and corrosion, and every three years. If you suspect other contaminants, test for these also.
Have you had a chemical or fuel spill/leak near your water supply?
Test your well for chemical contaminants, such as volatile organic compounds. Tests can be expensive; limit them to possible problems specific to your situation. Local experts can tell you about possible impurities in your area.
Is someone in your house pregnant or nursing an infant? Are there unexplained illnesses in your family? Do you notice a change in water taste, odor, color or clarity?
You may need to test more than once a year.
For more information you can download the EPA's Home Water Testing (PDF)
*The above information was taken from the www.epa.gov/safewater
Water samples are taken at the kitchen sink. The "first draw" sample is collected with water that has been sitting in the pipes for better understanding of what may be inside the piping of the home. The second sample is taken after the water has been running for 5 minutes to produce a more accurate picture of the water supply's quality of water.
Because the testing needs to be performed almost immediately the water sample can not be taken on Fridays due to lab closures on weekends.
If your drinking water does not come from a public water system, or you get your drinking water from a household well, you alone are responsible for assuring that it is safe. For this reason, routine testing for a few of the most common contaminants is highly recommended. Even if you currently have a safe, pure water supply, regular testing can be valuable because it establishes a record of water quality. This record is helpful in solving any future problems and in obtaining compensation if someone damages your water supply.
Should I have my water tested?
The answer to this question depends on several factors. It concerns your health and the health of your family, so you need to know some basic facts. In addition to illness, a variety of less serious problems such as taste, color, odor and staining of clothes or fixtures are signs of possible water quality problems. Other things to think about include the nearness of your water well to septic systems and the composition of your home’s plumbing materials.
Regardless of your water source, here are two situations that may require testing:
Do you suspect lead may be in some of your household plumbing materials and water service lines?
Most water systems test for lead as a regular part of water monitoring. These tests give a system-wide picture, but do not reflect conditions at a specific household faucet. If you want to know if your home’s drinking water contains unsafe levels of lead, have your water tested. Testing is the only way to confirm if lead is present or absent. Some faucet and pitcher filters can remove lead from drinking water. If you use a filter to remove lead, be sure you get one that is certified to remove lead by NSF International. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/safewater/lead, or call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
Are you considering a home water treatment unit?
Find out what is in your water and what you might want to remove before contacting potential dealers. Be informed so you can make the right decisions. To help you, please visit: www.epa.gov/safewater/faq/faq.html#hwtu and www.epa.gov/safewater.
Do you know what's in your water?
The EPA recommends regular testing of your drinking water by a Drinking Water-Certified Laboratory. Don't depend on a cheap, do it yourself test kit. The water testing we offer is performed by a local lab. Proven to be a fast, accurate and affordable way to monitor the purity of your drinking water. The water test parameters satisfy most lenders including FHA and VA loans.
A microbiology test is ran for Coliform Bacteria (presence of fecal coliform indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal waste). This test is recommended annually for all well users. A Full Inorganic Panel test is also ran, this test includes Alkalinity, Chloride, Fluoride, Hardness, Nitrate, Nitrite, pH, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Mercury, Selenium, Silver, Sodium, and Zinc. This test is recommended every 2 years for all well users.