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Posted on May 18, 2010

Are There Any Water Contamination Testing Steps That Can be Done at Home?

So, you’re interested in protecting your family from contaminants that could be found in your water? Fortunately, for you there are numerous ways to check your water that are affordable.

Here are two ways that will cost you nothing. The first way to check for water contamination testing is very simple, search on any major search engine about your local drinking water information. You’ll be able to find out the quality of the tap water in your area. The Environmental Protection Agency is a government site that can direct you to your local drinking water information. Your city’s water quality report can even be viewed online if it’s updated.  The EPA requires that the city perform routine water contamination testing that you can tap into by finding these reports.

The second way is the simplest method of testing for water contamination in your own tap water. You will be determining what might be in your water by using a simple smell and taste test. Fill a glass with your tap water and cover it for several minutes. After those minutes, smell and taste the water. When you smell it, your water shouldn’t smell like anything. If your water has a bleach smell or smells like a very strong disinfectant, your water contains chlorine. Remember that not all bad water will actually smell or taste bad.

It is important to note that chlorine is usually present in water because the water treatment plants use it as one of many additives. The plants use additives to make the water look and smell better as well as to treat for potential harmful contaminants, such as those of an organic nature. A small amount of exposure to chlorine isn’t bad, but exposure to too much chlorine can increase your risk for cancer. The senior research team at the Medical College of Wisconsin believes that “based on this study, that there is an association between cancer and chlorinated water.” Also, THMs form when chlorine contacts algae and other organic matter in surface water, and they are linked to many degenerative disease issues.

Another option for water contamination testing is to purchase a home testing kit for about $6. This home testing kit will test for chemicals like chlorine, and will determine the “hardness” of your tap water. The buildup of calcium and magnesium is what creates hard water. These minerals in excessive quantities can cause damage to more than just your health. Your house could be at risk. The buildup of calcium and magnesium can cause harm to your water heater and plumbing.

Depending on how much money you want to spend, you can purchase watering contamination testing kits to determine what other contaminants are in your water. Most of these kits will test for Escherichia coli (E. coli), bacteria, lead, chlorine, nitrates, nitrites, and water hardness, and can determine what the pH level of your water is. You can get a single test to test for each of these or buy a single test that will test for all of them.

Water treatment plants also do their best with filtering out different chemicals and containments that may be in your water. Studies performed by well-known authorities like consumer advocate Ralph Nader found over 2,000 different chemicals in the public water system across the country. For that reason the EPA recommends that homeowners purchase a quality home water filtration system like those sold by Aquasana.  Adding that extra layer of protection will give you the peace of mind that what the city cannot catch in their water filters, your home system will handle. The result will be clean, fresh-tasting water for you and for your family for many years to come.