Toxins can make their way into water supplies for a variety of reasons. Sometimes arsenic can enter a water supply by means of fertilizer runoff. Lead can creep its way into water supplies if there are lead pipes that handle the water in an aging infrastructure system. Iron oxide, also known as rust, can act as a nutrient for harmful bacteria to thrive and contaminate water supplies. There are solutions available for all of these problems. Water testing is the most important because it is the first line of defense.

Tests don’t lie

Often when water is contaminated, the people using the water do not suspect anything is wrong. The water may look and taste just fine. Many of the harmful contaminants need only be present in trace amounts to make people sick in the long run. In the case of lead, for example, it need only be present in a quantity that is slightly higher than the EPA’s recommended limit to do great harm to a child’s cognitive development. This is where water testing plays an important role.

A water test will tell you two things: what is in the water, and how much of it is present. Although many users of professional water testing are only interested in ruling out certain toxins, it is helpful to know if there are other things dissolved into the water supply. One common example of an element that ends up in water supplies and is often innocuous is copper. Many aquifers contain small amounts of dissolved copper that are present in harmless concentrations. Although the copper itself may not be a toxicity problem, having the knowledge of its presence is essential in safeguarding the water from more genuine contaminants.

Treating the water

To deal with toxins like lead or arsenic, most water treatment options involve adding something to the water that will bind to the toxic substance. Once this chemical reaction occurs, the solute that results is removed via filtration. Unfortunately, when there is something like copper or magnesium already present, the binding agent can bind to these instead of the targeted toxin. This is why it is important to perform water testing that will reveal everything that is present in the aquifer. Most of the time, the problems imposed by copper and magnesium can be overcome by altering the water’s pH or temperature prior to the treatments.

Water testing is essential because the data it generates will tell you exactly what is needed to get rid of problems. Altering things like water temperature or pH are relatively easy, but if you do not have the knowledge to indicate that this needs to be done, you will have a much harder time addressing the problem. When looking for the right water testing kit, it is highly important to find one that will detect a broad spectrum of dissolved ions (i.e. copper, zinc magnesium, iron, sulfates) and others, because this will affect your options for treatment against the more dangerous toxins. If you suspect that there might be something wrong with your water, always go for more information as opposed to less.