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Posted on May 6, 2010

Are Water Testing Methods Reliable?

Are Water Testing Methods Reliable?

There are plenty of reports on the news or in magazines and newspapers that inform us that the water quality that comes to us from city water-processing facilities may still be seriously contaminated. If all we had to go on to believe these reports were the sales scripts of bottled water and water filter companies, that would not be enough. Water contamination is a big issue and the importance of more effective controls over the water supply for our communities is getting to be a bigger issue all the time.

In order to assess the reality of how serious water contamination is in your community, many people turn to various water-testing tools and kits. Many of these kits work like a pregnancy test by giving you testing strips that turn colors if the particular contaminant being tested for is evident in the water sample you are taking. The problem is that, like the pregnancy test, you never know how accurate those tests are.

It isn’t hard to find water-testing kits that give you the basic tools to perform your own water testing. Many of these kits can be found at your local hardware store for less than $10. The old saying, “you get what you pay for,” applies to how much stock you can put in water testing that is done using these kits. Most in-home water tests are not very accurate. For the small amount of money that you pay for a basic water-testing kit, you can really only test for very few contaminants. In light of the vast diversity of water contamination sources, that kind of water testing falls short of what you need to determine the severity of the water contamination problem you are facing.

A more comprehensive water-testing method can be used but it often costs $100 or more. Any knowledgeable water-quality consultant will tell you that water testing is a moving target. Even the most comprehensive water-testing system still will only give you a glimpse of water quality on a given day. Levels of contaminants vary greatly during different times of the year.

For example, THMs and VOCs are two very harmful and common tap water contaminants. Water testing may show much lower levels during colder seasons than warmer seasons due to increased levels of chlorine needed to kill algae in the warmer months. Other contaminant concentrations vary greatly depending on water table levels and seasons. In the summer when people use lawn chemicals, the levels rise in surface water greatly. In winter months, they almost disappear.

One way to get a localized picture of what kind of water contamination problem you may be having in your community is to get a copy of a city water quality report. You can learn as much from these free reports as you would from an expensive home water-testing kit. However, even city water quality testing cannot give you the whole picture of what is in your water.

Most city water testing capabilities can only test for the 96 regulated contaminants. When you consider that there are over 90,000 known toxic chemicals used in our society and that more than 2,000 of them have been detected in tap water supplies, even city water testing comes up insufficient to the task. But knowing the level of water contamination that the basic contaminants are contributing to the water supply of your community is enough to let you know if the time has come to invest in a home water filtration system.

The best assurance that you are providing healthy water to your family, and the least expensive, is by using a high-quality, economical water filter like those from Aquasana. These water filter systems are certified to remove common tap water contaminants. With a reliable water filtration system in place, you can be sure of your water quality no matter what season, temperature, or the limitations of the local reporting requirements.