Over the years I bet that I have fielded 100,000 or more questions and comments regarding home water testing. People with wells commonly have their water tested while countless others have purchased DIY testing kits in one form or another. Frequently, when there are line breaks or chemical upsets municipal providers often send technicians to the home of consumers to perform testing. As water problems become more the norm than the rare exception people are thirstier than ever for home water testing. I foresee an upcoming explosion of demand for home water test kits.
OUR DILEMMA – What is it that we are going to test? People feel comfortable telling me, “oh my water gets tested every 3 months and it is perfect”. Really? Consider that there are 100+ tests that municipal water labs routinely and repeatedly conduct on water to assure that it is safe. Now consider the self-satisfaction of having water that some guy came out and “tested”. Suddenly our assurance becomes paper-thin. There are over 100 substances in the table of elements to be tested. add to that, there are pesticides, fertilizers, bacteria, viruses, BOD, COD, turbidity, hardness, alkalinity, pH, and Total Dissolved Solids. We must pile on even more potential contaminants because there are carcinogenic organics, oil, grease, solvents, colloids, and many more contaminants routinely found in tap water supplies.
A complete water analysis is timely, complicated, and very expensive. There are countless water contaminants that can harm us and there is no one practical test to tell us that our water is safe to drink. With more-and-more municipal water providers reporting failures at meeting water safety standards, we consumers not only need to be on the lookout for home-water fail-safe technology, but also new, economical testing technology to allow us to monitor our water. In the meantime, here are a few testing technologies that can help the consumer achieve a higher level of water security.
- Millipore® bacterial samplers
- Chlorine test kit
- Total Dissolved Solids meter
- pH testing kit
The idea here is to begin by recording the values reported by your local water supplier, then with a regular schedule of your own testing you can compare at least some common parameters. Depending on one’s budget, there are other testing products that measure additional parameters such as heavy metals.
The takeaway for me, is that as our water supplies become more contaminated, personal water testing is going to become a reality.