Everything you need to know about testing your Drinking Water

Home Drinking Water Testing

Clean drinking water is important to every human being's daily life. While living in our homes, we can become complacent in trusting our drinking water, but we are here to tell you that you should be. Poor quality tap water cannot usually be detected without a sensor or sophisticated testing.

There are few necessities required for survival. It is no surprise that water is one of those few necessities. People can live over a week without food, but may only survive a few days without water. Therefore, it is essential as a society, we become the advocates for safe drinking water. Citizens have entrusted government officials with the responsibility to ensure safe drinking water for their communities; however, they have been disappointed with the water supply contamination that continues to occur. Because we can no longer entrust our drinking water safety to others, we must take this into our own hands and independently test our water.

Testing for Clean Water

Many people do not realize that it is their responsibility to advocate for clean, toxin free water. It is commonly thought that we pay our politicians and government officials enough tax dollars, that they would make sure no such toxins entered into the water system. That is a common misconception as can be seen by cities such as Flint located in the state of Michigan. Flint, Michigan thought they were receiving clean water; and were even told for months by government officials that the water was safe to drink. Yet, the citizens of this city were continuing to become ill. These individuals put their trust and faith in the community to protect their most important necessity: water. After learning about incident in Flint, Michigan, it created an awareness in others to make sure that the drinking water located in their areas was safe to drink.

Independently testing the drinking water can provide information that will prevent individuals from becoming ill or poisoned by contaminated water. When the average water, directly from the faucet was tested, the sample showed levels of bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals that were determined to be within normal limits. That was a disturbing finding, which indicated that those entrusted with water safety allowed for levels of bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals to pass through into our homes. Some bacteria and viruses have very small infectious loads; and as such, only take one or two organisms to create infection in a human. Therefore, it is unacceptable to consider water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or heavy metals as clean and ready to drink. In order to make sure that these organisms and metals are not in the water coming out of your faucet, drinking water testing kits can be obtained from popular online trading websites. These drinking water tests can be obtained from home improvement stores, or big box retail stores as well. These tests are not difficult to find, and should be used before drinking water that is suspected to be contaminated. The EPA even offers specific water testing kits that will examine the water for bacteria and metals. Finding water tests that examine the pH of the water is also imperative to ensure safe drinking water. If the pH is too acidic or too basic it can actually cause the copper pipes to leech metal into the water supply. When checking your drinking water you should make sure the testing kit also checks the water for the following: fluoride, radon, arsenic, nitrates, lead, other metals, bacteria and viruses. Choosing the right water testing kit can be as important as testing the water, so please choose a test that evaluates the water for the organisms and metals listed above.

The Smell of Water

While evaluating the smell and taste of your water is imperative to identifying specific contaminants, there are tons of bacteria and viruses that are colorless and odorless. Therefore, it is imperative to remember that even if the water is clear and is odorless that there still may be dangerous and infectious contaminates present. There are many pathogenic bacteria and viruses that may be present within the drinking water; and thus, if not tested for can result in infectious disease. E. Coli is an infectious bacteria that results from contamination with fecal material. There are many different strains of this bacteria that can create serious and even fatal outcomes. There should not be E. Coli in drinking water. Hepatitis A is a virus that is easily transmitted through contaminated water. It can result in severe diarrhea, dehydration and even death if supportive care is not given. Drinking water may even be contaminated with Salmonella typhi which can result in Typhoid fever. These bacteria and viruses should never enter the water supply. The results can be devastating; and the most enraging issue is that all of this can be prevented with the appropriate regulations.

Being aware of the different smells and tastes associated with your faucet water can help raise a red flag that something just might not be right. If the water smells like a swimming pool, it probably has a high content of chlorine. High chlorine content can indicate that there was some type of bacterial or viral contaminate that has required strong chlorine treatment. High chlorine content can help the average person become aware that something may be contaminating the water to warrant that increase in chlorine concentration. At that point, it is a good idea to begin testing the water frequently to determine if there are unsafe contaminants present. If the water smells like sewer or rotten eggs, then it could mean that hydrogen gas is being produced from rotting wastes. Hydrogen gas can be produced by a variety of pathogenic bacteria; and that smell can indicate there are living, replicating bacteria within the water supply. Speak with those at the water treatment facility to determine if they have had any other complaints regarding the sewer, or rotten egg smell. If they say that everything is within normal limits, or within regulatory guidelines, it is still important for the individual to test their own water to evaluate contaminants that may be present. If the water tastes like metal, then there is probably metal contaminate in your water.

Metals such as iron, copper, or manganese can be present within the water. Build up of these elements in the human body can actually create devastating illnesses. The build up of iron within the human bodies organs can actually result in organ failure. These elements should not be in the water supply; and thus, the appropriate officials should be notified if the at home drinking water test indicates contamination with these elements. If the water tastes like turpentine, then the water may have been contaminated with Methyl-tertiary butyl ether. While some scientists believe that MTBE may not be dangerous, there are others that believe there are negative side effects that may occur as a result of exposure to this compound. In any case, MTBE should not be in the water supply. That, in and of itself, should warrant an at home drinking test to prevent compounds and metals from contaminating the water supply.

The Color of Water

Colors of the water coming from your faucet can also be an indicator that your water is contaminated. If the water is any color other than clear it should be tested. Red or dirty brown colored water can indicate that there is iron or manganese present. If these elements are present in the water supply, it is imperative to stop drinking the water. The next step is to involve those at the water treatment plant and figure out the reason this contamination is occurring. If it is not coming from the water treatment plant, then there may be an outside source of water contaminating the main water supply. Old wells or water pumps may contaminate the main water supply, and the result can create serious health consequences. Old wells or water pumps that have been contaminated can actually result in an outbreak of disease such as Cholera. Cholera is not heard of in most developed countries; however, with contaminated water systems it can actually make a re-occurrence. If the water is blue or green in color it could indicate that there is copper leeching into the water supply. If the water supply is too acidic or too basic, then the copper can actually be stripped from the copper pipes and that element can enter into the water supply. These colors can be warning signs that indicate the necessity to perform an at home drinking water test to rule out any serious contaminants.

Test your Water Regularly

Drinking water is one of the most important necessities for survival; and should be tested regularly. It is important to contact those at the water treatment facility to determine if they are aware of the growing concern regarding water contamination. If they are unable to offer any recommendations, then it is imperative to test your drinking water for the contaminants listed in this article. Contaminated drinking water should not be an issue occurring in well-developed countries. Contaminated water can be completely prevented if the proper regulations are implemented. Therefore, as a society we must become advocates for ensuring clean drinking water as the normal standard. Understanding the warning signs of contaminated water, and performing regular drinking water tests can help prevent further contamination and illness.