After the Flint, Michigan water crisis, many people were left wondering about the safety of their drinking water. Though there are safety measures put in place around the nation’s water supplies, like the water testing Pittsburgh facilities. However, if you don’t rely on what is considered “public water” for your H2O supply, you may need to be more proactive in your evaluation of your water’s safety. Not only can bad water cause illness, but water quality problems can also disturb the taste, color, and odor of the fluid. It could also be damaging to your home’s appliances or plumbing equipment.
How Often to Test
To be safe, you should have your water tested every year, especially if your home or property has recently had repaired or replaced pipes or pumps. Those who own their own well should also test water this frequently. You should also test the water for nitrates after a heavy rainy season.
- Family additions. Have the test look at nitrates, total coliform bacteria, pH levels, and total dissolved solids. If your household is expecting a new baby in the coming months, definitely have the water tested for nitrates during the early months of pregnancy, just before the birth, and within the first six months of the infant’s life.
- Signs of a problem. Any times you have a problem with staining, bad taste, or an odor, you should have the water tested for iron, sulfate, manganese, chloride, hardness, and corrosion. You should test for these elements regularly every three years. Unexplained and persistent illnesses could also mean there is a problem with your water supply.
- Environmental concerns. If there has been a chemical or fuel spill leak near your water supply, you should have the water tested. You can have the well checked for both chemical contaminants and volatile organic compounds.
A thorough water test could be expensive, so check with your local health department for help testing for nitrates and bacteria. Through the Safe Drinking Water Hotline you can also arrange for testing by a state-certified laboratory.