It’s not always easy to tell if your home tap water is safe for drinking. Some contaminates have an obvious odor or taste, but most serious contaminates that can make their way into drinking water are invisible, odorless and tasteless. Most home tap water comes from municipal systems, which are required to test water frequently and notify the public if contaminate levels aren’t below public safety standards. As a result, most people can be reasonably sure that their drinking water isn’t harmful. However, the only way to know for sure that your water is safe to drink is to test it.
When to Test Your Water
Under certain circumstances, having your water tested independently may be a good idea. Municipal systems test for contaminants at their water treatment plants, and there is the small possibility that harmful substances may get into your water as it travels from the plant to your faucets. If you have lead pipes, brass faucets (which contain lead) or copper pipes, you may want to have your water tested for these metals. New pipes and faucets are permitted lead levels of eight percent or less, and old plumbing may have much higher levels. Lead poisoning can be extremely serious, and copper poisoning can also involve a number of nasty symptoms. Rural residents who get their water from private or shared wells should definitely test their water regularly. These residents are solely responsible for their own water quality, which is not managed or tested by a municipal water agency.
Ways to Test Your Water
If you want to test the water from your own faucet, you can request a test from your local water agency or a certified lab, or perform a test yourself. Many local water agencies are willing to perform home drinking water tests, and some will even do so for free. If your local water agency doesn’t offer tests, state-certified or nationwide labs can test your water for you. Depending on the number of contaminant levels you want to check, the cost of these tests can vary from tens to hundreds of dollars. You can find a certified lab in your state by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, or calling their Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791. Home testing kits are also good but limited options. Reputable home tests like PurTest and Discover Testing allow you to check your water for lead, arsenic, bacteria and pesticides. Labs are able to test for many more contaminants, but there are also much more expensive that these home tests. The EPA reports that 90 percent of municipal water systems meet federal safety standards. That’s pretty good, but it’s not perfect—if you want to be absolutely certain that your water is safe, testing is the way to go. Thank you for visiting our blog! Please follow us for more information about plumbing, heating and cooling.