Summary: Safe and clean drinking water is a necessity for everybody. Learn some of these terms when it comes to keeping your water safe and your family healthy.

When it comes to your water, it’s very important to know whether it is potable and safe to drink, especially in your own home. Unsafe water can be a hazard to your plumbing in your home, and to your health. What should you know when it comes to water testing and the safety of your clean water?

Here are some terms you should know when it comes to your drinking water:


Pesticides are a big concern if you are living in a rural area, as a large number of farms need to use some form of pesticide to keep their crops viable for harvesting. Pesticides can include any number of chemicals that are formulated to kill or control weeds or animal pests. They can include chemicals categorized as algaecide, herbicide and rodenticide. These chemicals are often sprayed over whole fields, and they cover plants, but also the ground; which means, they can seep into the ground and if in large enough concentrations, make it into the water table. Pesticides in your water are a health hazard, especially if the parts per million concentration exceeds safe levels.

PH Level

The pH level of a solution is the measurement of its acidity or causticity. On the pH scale, 7 is neutral, anything above is basic, and below is acidic. The normal pH range for surface water is 6.5 to 8.5 and groundwater is generally 6 to 8.5. When water gets too acidic, below 6.5, it can be an indicator that there are metal ions in the water such as iron, copper, lead, zinc, and manganese. Therefore, acidic water often has toxic metals that can result in health problems, or at the very least premature damage to metal piping in your home. Acidic water often tastes metallic or sour, so it should be tested immediately if those properties are occurring. Basic water, or hard water, above pH 8.5, does not pose a health issue, but can cause aesthetic issues in the form of scale deposits on anything that your water regularly touches.

Inorganic Chemicals

Inorganic chemicals in your water can include any elemental metals or chemical substances that do not contain carbon or hydrogen; these include elements such as calcium and iron. Finding inorganic chemicals can cause a mix of issues, whether it’s damage to your metal piping, or health issues when levels exceed safety tolerances. Metallic, or bitter tasting water can be an indicator of inorganic chemicals being in your water, and they can affect the pH levels as well.

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals are metallic elements that have high atomic weights. These can include mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic and lead. Heavy metals are very dangerous, even in low concentrations, so any amount of these elements in your water can be a health hazard. They also tend to accumulate in the food chain, so they can contaminate crops and animals if you are operating a farm.

Fecal Coliform Bacteria

Fecal coliform is bacteria that originates in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. Fecal coliform on its own is often not dangerous in low concentrations in water, however high concentrations can be an indicator that other more dangerous pathogens that can cause major health risks are be present. E.Coli is a type of fecal coliform that has made news in recent years and certain strains can cause food poisoning symptoms. If you live near farmland, it is recommended that you test regularly for coliform bacteria contamination, especially during heavy rainy seasons, or if you are downstream.

Keep Your Water Clean and Get It Tested

AquaKnow works with a network of laboratories all across the US in all 50 states to analyze water for customers, so contact us today to get recommendations on which water testing kit you’ll need to keep your water clean and safe.