Pamplin Media Group – When to test water at your home

The EPA advises that certain conditions and activities may warrant a water test

Contaminated water supplies pose a significant threat to human health. According to the World Health Organization, contaminated water has been linked to various diseases, including cholera, diarrhea, dysentery and hepatitis A, among others. Drinking water sources are exposed to contamination and many people may be unaware whether their water is safe for consumption or what they should do to ensure it is.

The Environmental Protection Agency notes that many testing labs or services supply sample containers to people interested in having their water tested. But that leaves the question of when to test the water. The EPA states that certain conditions and activities may justify testing the water for the presence of various things that can make people ill.

• Condition: Recurrent gastrointestinal disease

• Recommended test: E. coli

• Condition: Household plumbing contains lead

• Recommended Test: Pit, Lead, Copper

Condition: Flaky residue, soaps do not lather

• Recommended test: Hardness

• Condition: Water softener required for hardness treatment

• Recommended test: manganese, iron

• Condition: dirty sanitary fittings, laundry

• Recommended test: iron, copper, manganese

• Condition: Foul taste or smell

• Recommended Test: Hydrogen Sulfide, Corrosion, Metals

• Condition: Cloudy, foamy or colored water

• Recommended test: paint, detergent

• Condition: Corrosion of pipes, pipelines

• Recommended test: corrosion, pH, lead

• Condition: Rapid wear of the water treatment system

• Recommended test: pH, corrosion

• Condition: Nearby areas with intensive farming

• Recommended test: nitrate, pesticides, E. coli

• Requirement: Nearby coal or other mining operation

• Recommended test: metals, pH, corrosion

• Condition: Smell of gasoline or heating oil and near gas stations or buried fuel tanks

• Recommended Test: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

• Condition: Salty taste and sea water or a heavily salted roadway nearby

• Recommended Test: Chloride, TDS, Sodium

Various conditions can indicate a contaminated water supply. Individuals should not hesitate to have their water tested when such conditions arise.

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