Water Testing and Safety

Kitchen sink
The quality and safety of your water has, for a long time, been a trusted public service. Recently there has been a lot of inquiries about what to look for to know if the water in you house is safe.

Many quality anomalies in your water are relatively harmless, some discoloration, some smells etc.

If you do have any discoloration, smells or notice unexplained illnesses in the members of your house hold do not hesitate to have you water tested. You can get a list of certified water testing labs in your area by contacting the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or visiting www.epa.gov/safewater/labs. Then you can diagnose any problem you may have and alert yourself to any health safety issues.

If your water comes from a public water system you should have access or have received a copy of the Consumer Confidence Report, that details the quality of your water and makes sure you know that it meets the National Primary Drinking Water Standards.

If your water comes from a private water system, you and you alone are responsible for making sure that it is safe to drink. We recommend testing your water supply at least once a year to ensure your safety and to track your history of clean water quality.

There are a few questions to ask yourself when considering testing your water.

  • Do you expect to have a new baby in the home? Make sure you test for nitrates in your water.
  • Do you have taste, odor or water staining issues? Test for sulfate, chloride, iron, manganese.
  • Is someone in the home pregnant, or do you have unexplained illnesses?

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Most contaminants have physical symptoms. The only way to know whether your tap water contains lead is to have it tested. You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water.

What to do if you do have contaminated water:
Do this especially if the water has been sitting in your pipes for 6 hours or more.

  • Run your taps on cold for 5 or more minutes.
  • Run you kitchen tap for an additional 1-2 minutes on cold.
  • Use this clean water to fill a container to use for drinking, cooking or any other form of consumption. You can also collect multiple containers of this water once you pipes have been flushed.
  • Only use cold water. Water that comes out of the tap hot can contain higher lead levels.
  • Boiling lead-tainted water does not reduce the amount of lead. Some scientists think that this can actually make the problem worse, as the water evaporates, the lead concentrates creating a more PPBs than water straight out of the tap.

You can shower and bathe, lead doesn’t absorb through the skin, however many kids often drink bath water as they are bathing or showering, so it is best to find and alternative way for your kids to get clean while you have a contamination.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers lead the most serious environmental health hazard for children in the United States.