With spring just around the corner, spring-cleaning lists are starting to be made. While many of us think about cleaning house and getting rid of junk, most of us don’t think about water testing. Why not add water testing to your spring-cleaning list? Yes, water testing. If you want to ensure your family’s water is safe to drink, then water testing is important.

In many cities across the U.S., water supplies have been contaminated due to a variety of reasons. This contaminated water can easily end up in your personal water supply, potentially affecting you and your family’s health.

Why should you test your water?
There are more than 2,100 drinking water contaminants, including several known poisons, which can be present in tap water. Knowing this, wouldn’t you want to ensure your drinking water supply is safe for consumption? Although most cities have safe drinking water, municipal water supplies may be affected due to flooding and natural disasters, for example.

If you notice your water has an odor, color and/or unpleasant taste, this could be indicative the water supply is contaminated. This would require testing to confirm which contaminants are present and if the levels are high enough to make your water supply unsafe.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), those who do not rely on the public water system but rather a household well are responsible for ensuring their water supply is safe.

What if I suspect there is lead in my water?
In some cases, unsafe levels of lead can be present in your water. The only way to determine whether there is lead present is to conduct a water test. Certain filters can remove lead from drinking water, so if you’re using a water filtration system in your home, make sure it is certified to remove lead by NSF International.

Lead is especially dangerous for children – according to the EPA, there is no known safe level of lead in a child’s blood. Therefore, if you suspect there is lead in your water supply, it is crucial to have your water supply tested and treated.

Who can test water?
Homeowners can conduct their own water tests by purchasing a water test kit through companies such as AquaKnow. A variety of test kits are available, depending on what homeowners are wanting to test for. Once you receive the test kit, testing the water is as easy as following the simple instructions and then sending the water back to the lab for testing. Once the results are sent back, homeowners will be able to determine if the levels of contaminants present are at regular or dangerous levels.

How do contaminants get into your drinking water?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are many reasons why contamination can occur in water systems. The most common sources are:

  • Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
  • Local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated animal feeding operations)
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Sewer overflows
  • Malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems (for example, nearby septic systems)

How often should you test your water?
It is recommended to conduct water testing at least once a year, and more often if your water supply is from a private well. In doing so, homeowners can measure the water’s total bacteria, pH levels and nitrates.

Testing your water should be a normal and regular task that’s added to your spring cleaning lists. Ensuring access to safe drinking water is important for all families. Make sure to contact a water testing company if you’re unsure where to begin.