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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ About Water Testing


How often should I have my water tested?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), in some publications, seems to indicate yearly for private well water, for public systems it will depend on your own preference. Perhaps the best answer is what you as a consumer feel comfortable with.

I have been offered free water testing In conjunction with the purchase of filtration equipment. Why should I pay to have my water tested?

All we can say is beware of free water tests!

e-WaterTest.com has spent a large amount of money to purchase laboratory equipment and train qualified staff to be able to test drinking water in accordance with USEPA testing methodologies. Obviously, this has to cost something. There are many water testing offers on the internet that are being less than honest about the way they perform their analysis, e-WaterTest.com performs a full range of in-house testing using state of the art instrumentation and equipment.

I have public water and am thinking of buying a home with a well. I have been told not to because well water Is not as good. Is this true?

Many public water supplies and private well waters come from the same source, namely underground aquifers. The question then becomes, Who does a more effective job of maintaining the quality of the water supply? Obviously, public water is treated daily to maintain a certain level of water quality. Well owners can also treat their supply by installing equipment in their homes. Many people who prefer private wells may not want public water and often litigation occurs when municipalities build water systems within areas that contain residences utilizing private wells . The bottom line is that water sources need to be maintained by both public water suppliers and individual homeowners to assure quality water.

I Have public water, why do I need to have my water tested?

Public water supplies are compelled by law to perform certain tests at specific intervals. The USEPA has set certain standards for all public water supplies to adhere to. However, it is possible that many customers of these supplies are not aware of potential problems that the supplier may have in meeting those standards. Additionally, water coming into a home from the distribution system can be different from the water that leaves the treatment plant. We have tested some public water supplies and occasionally find a variety of contaminants that did not meet state or federal standards.

What are some common misconceptions about water testing?

There is no one magic test that can tell you everything about the safety of drinking water. Generally, clients should specify the parameters which they are concerned about, or are needed for specific reasons. Usually, the more information wanted, the more expensive and involved the testing becomes.

Companies that offer free water analysis or include a test with the purchase of filtering equipment are providing the consumer with a test that could be as worthless as the price; that is, nothing. Real laboratory testing does not come free, because the cost of starting and operating a laboratory is high.

What should I test for?

This is the most frequently asked question. Basically, you should test for any parameters that are of concern to you and may affect your health. There are many things that can be in water that are health related and testing for all of them can be very expensive. This is why we have developed the Priority Water Test and feel that it is an excellent over all water quality screen, testing for parameters that are most often causes for concern


Do You recommend water filters?

Using filtering devices, if maintained properly, can give the user/homeowner better quality water than bottled and/or commercially available sources, usually at a fraction of the cost per gallon over a period of time. The point is to take control of your own environment.

How do you feel about bottled water?

We feel compelled to say something about bottled water. Many people believe bottled water is the safe approach to take. Many bottled water companies do a fairly good job of pre-treating their water prior to sale. However, there are some things to keep in mind.

Most bottled water is sold in plastic bottles and there is mounting concern by some health professionals over this. Strictly speaking, most plastics have the potential of allowing transport of gasses through them. This means that if left standing long enough in an atmosphere that contained vapors from some undesirable source, the water inside the bottle may start to show the presence of these materials. If for instance bottled water was stored in a warehouse with industrial solvents for a period of time, these solvents could be found in the water.

Always look for a date on the container that tells you when the water was bottled. If the date is longer than thirty days or more, you may not want to trust the contents. The same is true for any consumable beverage sold in plastic. The plastics used to make the bottles are also coming under scrutiny for possible leaching of undesirable materials into the product.

I drink bottled water. why should I care about my water supply?

There are many ways to answer this question. Perhaps the best way is to ask yourself this question, Can I really believe everything a label says?

Indeed bottled water has gotten better in their advertising claims and the way the more reputable ones pre-treat their supply. However, there are still reports of testing on some bottled waters which show that in some cases it can be less than desirable.

Our principal concern with bottled water is the expense and inconvenience of providing this source of drinking water. We feel that homeowners are fully capable of determining the safety of their current source of potable water by performing quality water testing and providing acceptable point of use treatment, if necessary, for a few cents per gallon and can be assured that they are providing drinking water of the highest quality for themselves and their families.

I Have Coliform Bacteria in my water. What do I do?

Coliform bacteria is a common contaminant in many water supplies. Public water supplies treat for this condition daily with chlorine. If found in private well water, it can also be treated by chlorine disinfection. In fact, the most common contaminant found in untreated well water is coliform bacteria. Most are not harmful if they are present at low levels. However, certain types such as E-coli or fecal coliform, should not be present even at low levels. Annual chlorination is recommended for private wells. There are other treatment methods available, such as continuous chlorine injection or UV treatment. See Water Treatment for more information.

My pH does not conform to standards. What does this mean?

The pH is a measurement of the acidity of water. The lower the pH, the more acidic the water. The pH of most well water is generally less than 7.0, for areas in sandy soil, and higher if the soil conditions are rocky or contain certain clays. In most cases non-conformity is due to a low pH (<6.5). The pH of water is not a primary parameter, but it is important. If the pH is low, there is a greater chance of certain harmful metals, such as lead, dissolving into the water. Also, a low pH can lead to corrosion of plumbing lines and fixtures. Many types of bacteria, such as iron related bacteria, thrive in waters at certain levels of pH. Non-conformity for high pH is not as common, but could indicate leaching of caustic substances into a water supply. The pH of your water should be in the range of 6.5-8.5. See Water Treatment for treatment methods regarding this parameter.

My water has a Rotten Egg smell. I was told this Is Sulfur. What can I do?

In our experience, this odor is usually caused by one problem, bacteria. It is also one of the most common complaints for well water and, in fact, is almost always limited to private wells. There are forms of bacteria which are collectively called sulfate reducing bacteria. When sulfates get into the water system, through agricultural products or other means, these bacteria interact with the sulfate and reduce it to sulfide compounds. These sulfides, such as hydrogen sulfide, are what causes the odor.

You can treat the sulfide by removing it through carbon filtration, or aeration of the water. However, it must be remembered that bacteria will ingest carbon as a food source, and can accumulate within the filtering system, giving off a stronger odor than that of the untreated water.

We recommend the same chlorination procedure as described above for coliform bacteria, as the best solution to this problem. You will be surprised how much better well water will be upon performing a yearly chlorination procedure.

If you have public water and this condition exists, you may be located at the end of a water main and flushing of the line may be necessary. In addition, bacteria could be present due to water main/line breaks or temporary water treatment plant problems.

What do I do if something bad is found in my water?

First dont panic, there are many things that can be done right away. A good idea is to have the test repeated. If similar results are found then contact local officials to see if similar problems have been reported in your area, if not report what you have found. However, dont wait for local or state government to correct a potentially bad situation. There is very little water contamination that cant be corrected or eliminated at the point of use. There are countless filtering devices that can be purchased and installed at the incoming water supply that can remove contamination from bacteria to lead, mercury, or cleaning solvents. Most action taken by official agencies is often some form of filtration on a large scale. In fact, some States have funded programs to help homeowners pay for correcting water problems once they have been documented, New Jersey for example

FAQ About Water Issues