Types of Water Tests That Are Available for Homes and Why They're So Important
Water tests are not done just for city water supplies, and many labs will work with homeowners to test various samples of water. This type of water testing can be very critical for those who own wells or septic systems, to ensure that nothing has been contaminated and that a home's water is safe for drinking and bathing. You may not know the types of tests that are available for your home's water and why they're so important, so note the following.
1. Changes in pH, iron, magnesium, and sulfides
These types of contaminants can change the color of your water. They may cause rust stains or leave a crusty residue along water fixtures and other plumbing, and inside your bathtub where water droplets land during a shower. While these contaminants may not be dangerous in very low levels, they can damage water treatment equipment if they are left to build up, and the stains they leave inside your shower and along fixtures may be difficult to remove. The crusty residue they create, often referred to as hard water, dries your skin and hair with every shower and can be very uncomfortable.
When nitrogen compounds in rocks and soil break down, this creates nitrates. These nitrates are natural and not harmful in very small amounts, but high levels of nitrates can be very dangerous to your health. An overabundance of nitrates can be caused by animal manure, sewer systems, septic systems, and fertilizers. If your water is found to have high levels of nitrates, you may need to look for leaking sewer lines, leaks in a septic tank, or the overuse of fertilizer on your own property or a nearby farmland or homestead.
Coliform will indicate bacterial contamination in water. Many forms of bacteria are natural and in small amounts are not harmful; these are found in soil, rocks, and from insects. However, high levels of bacteria and certain coliforms may indicate that your water has been contaminated. You may want to have specific tests done for E. coli bacteria, which is often the result of contamination from animal or human wastes. Other forms of bacteria, in very high levels, can make your water unusable and unsafe for drinking and bathing. A broad coliform test may first be conducted and its results may tell you if more testing should be done to note the levels of bacteria in your water.