Summary: You should know what is in your water that might make you or someone else sick. Regardless of whether your water comes from your own well or from a municipal source, have it tested at least once a year, and after any noticeable change in the environment.

Water is essential for life; therefore, it is essential that all of us be informed about the quality of what is coming out of the tap. There are bacteria in tap water, but not all of it is bad or harmful. Be aware of the differences and know what is in your tap that could make you sick.

To stay safe, have your tap water tested regularly, regardless of whether your water comes from your own well, or from a municipal source. Have it tested on a regular basis and after any change in environmental conditions, like a flood.How does the water become contaminated?

The disease-causing bacteria is generally carried through feces, either human or animal, that gets into the groundwater. Flooding, septic runoff, sewer pipes or landfills are one way. Other common contaminants are chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticide, and compounds such as arsenic, manganese and lead.

Some bacteria in the water can’t be tasted, smelled or seen. It moves incognito, but sometimes can become deadly diseases like campylobacter, cholera, cryptosporidium or giardia. Fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting are the common symptoms of these waterborne diseases. It can take some time, from two to 20 days, before showing symptoms.

Have your water tested for specific bacteria that may be contaminating the water. A common one that should always tested for is E.coli, or coliform, since the presence of this bacteria indicates that other disease-causing organisms could be present.

What else might be lurking in the water?

Salmonella contaminates water and food. Symptoms occur in one to three days after consuming.

Legionella pneumophila disease is a form of pneumonia that is very serious. Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, cough, and muscle aches.

Cryptosporidium is a parasite and its contamination of water leads to painful diarrhea. Boil all drinking water if cryptosporidium is a concern.

Test your water

Access to clean water is not a great concern in most parts of our country, but even in places where the water is tested, filtered and treated according to environmental practices and standards, errors still happen, and problems still occur. If your area has recently been subjected to flooding, if you suspect contamination, or your water has changed in any way, have it tested.

Remember, also that your taps themselves may be the problem, not the water. Clean water can become contaminated by older, rusty, breaking-down pipes. You should know what your taps are made of. Plastic, copper, or iron is good, lead is not.

If you have any concerns about your water, or if it is time for the annual check of the water in your well, talk to someone who knows all about the importance of water testing – AquaKnow. With a network of labs across the country and many years’ experience in providing and administering water tests for individuals, corporations, industries, and municipalities, a call to AquaKnow gives you peace of mind. Contact us today.