FAQ Regarding Home Water Testing

What is in the water?

Water can be much more than H20. As the water travels through the hydrologic cycle, minerals and contaminants are dissolved into the water.

Naturally occurring minerals impart undesireable properties such as unpleasant taste, staining, or hardness to the water. Other minerals are health risks at high levels.

Other contaminants are man-made. These include petroleum products from spills and leaking fuel tanks, industrial solvents from improper disposal activities, heavy metals from industrial activities or leaking landfills, salt contamination from storage areas, and brine used on roads.

Water can also be effected by living bacterial organisms. The presence of some bacteria indicate unsanitary conditions, and are indicators of the possible presence of disease causing micro-organisms. Other bacteria such as iron and sulfur bacteria cause nuisance odor, staining, and taste problems.

Is the water safe to drink?

In many cases you cannot see, taste or smell contaminates. You must have the water analyzed to know. The quality of your water may be substantially different then your neighbors'.

Unfortunately, there is not a single safe-to-drink test that will answer this question. It is not practical to analyze the water for everything. For cost-effectiveness, request analyses for contaminants most often found.

Isn't water quality the responsibility of the health department?

The responsibility for testing drinking water quality lies with each owner of the water supply system, whether it serves a home, a school, a business, or city.

How are health risks defined?

People have various levels of sensitivity and tolerances to contaminants. Some contaminants may not impair bodily function until years after consumption.

The presence of many contaminants at low levels are not health risks. Safe limits are established by the US EPA through health risk studies. These limits are called maximum contaminant limits (MCL's).

What precautions can be taken to ensure a safe water supply?

  1. Have your well system inspected for sanitary defects. Become informed of any contamination or pollution problems near your site. Have your water tested for contaminants that threaten your supply.
  2. Repair any defects found. Add water treatment equipment to remove contaminants as necessary.
  3. Properly maintain any water treatment equipment you have. Treatment equipment not maintained can actually put contaminants back into the water!
  4. Practice good housekeeping to prevent contaminating the land; do not overuse lawn chemicals, dump waste oil, fuel, or solvents on the ground; do maintain well isolation areas.

How long does it take to complete the analysis?

Turn-around-time (TAT) varies depending on the extent of the analysis requested and current workloads. Most testing is completed and reports are issued within 2-5 days. Refer to the Service Selection Guide for specific TAT's. Add mail time unless a faxed report is requested.

We urge you to check with us on the projected TAT if you are under a deadline. Rush orders may be subject to an expedite fee.

When I receive my results will I know what they mean?

Our reports are designed to be both understandable and informative. Results exceeding health limits will be noted. Guidance information and corrective solutions are sent with the reports for most analyses. We are only a phone call away if you have any questions.

Would I be crazy to take my samples anywhere else?