Water Testing

Water is the universal solvent, and it has the capability of dissolving just about anything.

Because of this unique property, water can easily become contaminated. Serious contaminates such as Lead and E. Coli Bacteria may be toxins affecting your family’s health. Listed below are the four major testing categories that we can examine when doing a water test.

  • Inorganic — Minerals and physical properties Organic—Petroleum products, gasoline, fuel oil, and solvents
  • Microbiology — Coliform and other bacteria Radiology—Radon gas Test Options
  1. Standard Test includes Microbiology and Inorganic.
  2. Comprehensive Test includes all four testing categories: inorganic, organic, microbiology, and radon. The comprehensive test is good way to start. It is a powerful tool in detecting contaminants commonly found in surface and deep well waters.
  3. If you are suspicious of pesticides or herbicides, the Comprehensive Plus Pesticides test is recommended.

We can also test for individual items such as Lead in Water.

Is Your Water Safe To Drink ?
Water from a private well is susceptible to contamination from septic tanks, under ground storage tanks, fertilizers, pesticides of a variety of other local ground water sources. Most conventional loans require testing for water potability (bacteria test). Other loans such as FHA and VA involve an extensive water series teat. Concerned home buyers often request additional water testing to verify the quality of the water in addition to potability. Below are the common parameters tested for in drinking water, their affects, and suggested treatment.

Bacteria: Total coliform and E. coli bacteria are important tests which are recommended to be performed a least twice a year on a private well. Sewage and animal waste are common causes of the presence of E. coli bacteria. Septic systems and manure fertilization are sources. Although coliform bacteria are not disease causing, the presence of numerous causes colonies of coliform means disease causing bacteria are probable in a water sample. Results are given in the number of colonies per 100ml. The only acceptable number is zero colonies. If you receive a reading of one or greater we recommend shocking the well with chlorine and water solution and re-testing or installing an ultraviolet light treatment system. Call us for a copy of suggested well shocking procedures.

Nitrate (NO3): Contamination can cause blue baby syndrome or methomoglobinema in infants. Results of 10 milligrams per liter or lower are acceptable. Pregnant women and infants are very susceptible to high nitrate levels. Treatment for high nitrates includes reverse osmosis or ion exchange.

Nitrites (NO2): Nitrites are another oxidation state of nitrogen which often occurs from run off from farmland and lawns or leaching from septic tanks. Treatment for high nitrites is also reverse osmosis or ion exchanger.

PH: A pH test determines if your water is acidic or alkaline. A pH reading should be between 6.5 and 8.5. Reading below 6.5 can cause corrosion of piping and fixtures. This corrosion may add high levels of copper, lead or zinc to your water. High copper can cause nausea. An acid neutralizer is used to correct ph levels. A reading above 8.5 can also cause corrosion or bad taste.

Iron: Iron is common element often found in ground water. High iron levels can cause staining of clothing and fixtures and promotes the growth of iron bacteria. Water may also have a metallic taste or distorted flavors in water or beverages. The acceptable level of iron in water is .3mg per liter. An iron filter is used for treatment.

Hardness: Hard water requires large amounts of soap and can cause a film on your skin and fixtures. Soft water is hard to rinse, leaves a slippery feeling when bathing and requires more water. Hardness has also been linked to clarification brain and kidney stone development. Water softeners are used to correct hardness.

Lead: The primary source for most lead in drinking water is the piping used in distribution or the household plumbing. Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful to human health. There is no safe level in drinking water. High levels of lead can cause coma, convulsions, damage organs and cause death. Moderate to low levels can cause brain neurological damage (hearing disorders), inhibit growth, and cause learning disabilities. The acceptable limit for lead in water is .015mg per liter. An acid neutralizer is used to correct high levels if lead.

Copper: Copper in water is typically a result of corroding pipes in the home. Acidic or aggressive water can leach copper from pipes are fixtures. Levels of copper in excess can cause Wilson's disease and other stomach problems. Acid neutralizers are used to treat high copper levels.

Others: Other common parameters to test your water for include total dissolved solid [the measurement of the total amount of organic and inorganic dissolved solids and detergents (the measure of foaming agents in water)]. Elevated levels of detergents may indicate surface or waste water infiltration into your water supply. VOC's or volatile organic compounds are tested for when groundwater contamination is present in the local area from a landfill or industrial contamination.

Lancaster Home Inspections, Inc. is certified to perform water testing on any of the above items. We also perform FHA and VA series water testing.