How Do You Test if Water Is Safe to Drink?

Water Testing in a Test Tube.

How do you test if water is safe to drink?

Having safe drinking water is essential for your health. But, drinking water, no matter the safety measures used, can have multiple contaminants. To ensure water is safe to drink you may want to consider water testing. While professional testing is the best way to make sure your water is completely safe to drink, you can do some checks at home to test your water quality.

First of all, your drinking water should be clear and not cloudy, and should not have an odor. Any discoloration should be suspect. But, you should definitely get the water tested if it comes out yellowish, brown, bluish or green. Yellow water could indicate the presence of the cancer-causing chemical chromium-6, as well as signs of the presence of lead, iron, manganese, or copper, which in high concentrations can be dangerous. Darker brown colors can indicate rust. Blue or greenish water can indicate the presence of copper and might mean copper pipes are worn and may need to be replaced.

Odors also shouldn’t be present. Common bad odors include rotten egg or sulfurous odors that indicate the presence of hydrogen sulfide, a gas that sometimes occurs naturally in groundwater. In some bacteria, it can be converted to sulfate that can cause dehydration or diarrhea. If your water smells like bleach, it could indicate too much chlorine. Excess chlorine in the water can lead to issues ranging from skin irritation to kidney problems. Odors of sewage indicate you have a problem with your sewer line.

If you are concerned about your water quality and want professional water testing in Aledo and Fort Worth, TX, the experienced professionals at Elder's Pure Water offer a full range of testing services. You can get help by calling 817-901-7775.

Why water testing is important

Testing your water quality is particularly important today. While cities do everything they can to provide you with quality water, many problems can occur that could contaminate water and make it detrimental to your health. Aging pipes in the city’s supply lines or your aging pipes, for instance, could allow contaminants into the water. It’s possible, as well, that while cities treat their water, they might just be meeting federal guidelines but not meeting your standards. Even privately supplied water from wells can contain contaminants, especially in areas when there may be pollutants in the water supply. Whether public or private, water supplies can be contaminated by anything from an overabundance of chemicals like chlorine to dangerous diseases and parasites, all of which could adversely affect your health.

How can I test water quality at home without a kit?

While having your water professionally tested is one of the best ways to ensure your water is safe and of high quality, you have other options available. Water testing kits, for example, can be purchased, and there are some ways to check your water quality without kits. Of course, clean water is clear and odorless, and sometimes just a visual check for cloudiness or discoloration or sniff test for odors will indicate low water quality. Taste tests might reveal issues like low pH or excess minerals—a metallic taste usually indicates these problems. You might also want to have your plumbing checked for corrosion or leaks or other issues that could affect quality. Another resource is your local municipality. Cities are required to report water quality and you can ask for water quality test reports. Sometimes this information is available online.

Are water testing kits accurate?

For the most part, home water testing kits are fairly accurate, especially when testing for the presence of chlorine, lead, bacteria, as well as pH levels. They might not be as accurate or detailed as a lab test when testing for other chemicals like nitrites and nitrates. Much of the accuracy will depend on which test you purchase, along with whether you performed the test correctly.

What tests are used to determine water quality?

At laboratories, water testing includes several different types of tests.

  • Temperature: Temperature helps determine the biochemical reaction. Elevated water temperatures, for instance, can limit the ability to hold oxygen and affects how some organisms resist pollutants.
  • pH levels: Acidity of water is tested. This can affect the ability of organisms to live in water.
  • Chloride testing: High levels of chloride could be the result of dissolving minerals or industrial pollution.
  • Salinity: Various levels of salinity in water can affect environments differently.
  • Dissolved oxygen: Key indicators of water health, especially for aquatic animals.
  • Turbidity: Measures particulate matter suspended in water. 
  • Nitrates and Phosphates: In natural waterways, when these chemicals occur naturally, they can be nutrients, but artificially nitrates and phosphates can be harmful, often resulting in algae blooms.
  • Pesticides: High levels of pesticides in water can be very dangerous.
  • Redox: Reduction-oxidization indicates electron activity and potential for microorganism growth.
  • Electrical conductivity: Can help indicate levels of salinity.
  • Metals: Some metals naturally occur in water, but many like lead or uranium or mercury are often introduced artificially through processes such as mining and processing of minerals.

What is the healthiest water?

There are all types of water that you can consume. Technically, one of the healthiest is hydrogen water because it contains high levels of antioxidants. But, when it comes to hydration, any water is good as long as it lacks impurities. Water marketed as “healthy” can be good, but the purported health benefits will only be beneficial when working in conjunction with dietary and lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise. 

Is hard water bad for you?

Hard water is normally not bad for you. It just contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. Hard water is generally a problem because of the way it affects plumbing and cleansing agents like soaps and detergents. Of course, other harmful chemicals or minerals could be present in hard water, and water testing is advised when you have hard water.

Water testing for Covid-19

In regards to the current Covid-19 pandemic, according to the EPA, water testing has revealed the virus is not transmitted through tap water and has not been detected in water supplies. It is safe to use and drink tap water.

A Person Fills Water From Tap.

Water testing near me

If you want to ensure your water is safe and want reliable services for water testing in Aledo and Fort Worth, TX, you can always count on the team at Elder's Pure Water. We offer a full range of water testing and filtration solutions. Find out more by calling 817-901-7775.