Changes in Color:
If your water has turned a strange color and you’re used to seeing crystal clear water, yellow or brown water can be alarming. The good news is that most of the time discolored water does not pose a significant health risk. There are DIY kits, laboratory testing options and water treatment companies. As you might have guessed, these options have different capacities. DIY kits do not typically have detection limits as low as laboratory testing and water treatment professionals (like ENVIH2O); they can usually provide an indicator of presence or absence as opposed to an accurate concentration.
Changes in smell:
Rotten eggs? Chlorine? Odd smelling water is an instance where at-home testing may be a good first step. For Chlorine or Bleach-Like Smell: Chlorine Strips are a great way to get an idea of how much chlorine is in your water. Many areas have as much in their drinking water as in their pool! Because laboratory testing for chlorine has specific preservation requirements due to its volatile nature, it can be quite expensive. Testing directly at the tap is a much more affordable route, that will give you a good sense of how much Total and Free Chlorine are in your water. A water treatment professional can do this. Rotten egg smell is most often attributed to sulfur. A test by a water treatment pro can help determine if this is the actual culprit (or the nose test?).
Before installing water treatment:
This is an instance of when we strongly recommend a water treatment professional. Treatment systems come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices–and before you take the plunge, you should ask yourself: what problem needs treating? Because treatment systems should be targeted towards filtering specific contaminants.
Local water quality issues:
Natural disasters can disrupt water quality for months. Immediate danger does not subside once fires are extinguished, or flood levels recede. Contaminants can find their way into drinking water supplies–leading to a multitude of health and safety risks. Whether it’s mold, bacteria, or any other contaminant–this is a good time for laboratory testing, as it will help keep you and your family safe. A water professional can handle this for you.
It’s no secret that American infrastructure is failing. In fact, the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) granted U.S water infrastructure a measly “D” (on an A through F scale). This comprehensive assessment of the nation’s 16 major infrastructure categories evaluates their current state and indicates that the U.S. must invest approximately $3.6 trillion in overall infrastructure repairs and improvements by 2020 to reach acceptable standards. Unfortunately, there is no timetable for if this will happen. Additionally, if you live in a house built prior to 1986, laboratory testing is a wise investment. It is also important to note that lead is legal in many fixtures and pipes and even though the concentrations are lower post 1986, the water quality could lead to leaching.
Your water comes from a well:
Are there are known problems with well water in your area? Have you experienced problems near your well (i.e., flooding, land disturbances, and nearby waste disposal sites)? Did you replace or repair any part of your well system? Have you notice a change in water quality (i.e., taste, color, odor)? These are key items to consider testing your well water on a yearly basis.
Excited about a new baby? Young children are considered one of the most vulnerable population groups. Because their bodies are still developing, toxic chemicals cause more harm to growing tissue. A common concern for parents with a new baby is too much nitrate–leading to methemoglobinemia (also known as blue baby syndrome). If you have young children in your home, laboratory testing is the best way to know if they are at risk.
With knowledge comes power–the power to make informed decisions and to help keep you safe. Having a water treatment pro test your water is a great way to see your water’s overall chemistry. Many contaminants–such as lead and arsenic–may be lurking in your water that you can’t smell, taste or see. Home DIY kits and home test trips fall short.