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Water Quality Testing

Water Testing - FHA/VA Water Test 

Contaminated drinking water is one of the oldest known public health concerns. The fact that a water supply has been used for a prolonged time without reported adverse health effects is not a guarantee of its safety. Regular users of a water supply can develop a tolerance for contaminates present within their water supply while infrequent users may become sick by drinking the same water. This informational water quality testing report compares your sample results to national standards that are defined within the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Regulations.

United States Environmental Protection Agency
Sunlight inspections taking a water sample

The following parameters are tested:

Water Quality Tester

Microorganisms

The Coliform Test

A pathogen is a disease-carrying organism. Many different pathogens could be present within a water system. It is not practical to test for all pathogens; therefore, the EPA requires testing for indicator organisms or coliform bacteria. The standard bacteriological method for assessing the safety of water for domestic use is the coliform test. “Total coliforms” refer to a group of closely related bacteria that are generally harmless. They are natural and common inhabitants of surface waters, soil, and plants. Coliform bacteria are also found within the gut of warm-blooded animals, including humans. Their presence within your drinking water suggests that there has been a breach, a failure, or another change in the integrity of your water system which could allow other pathogens to enter into your drinking water. The absence of total coliform bacteria within a water system is used as the basis for considering water safe to drink.

The Escherichia coli (E. coli) Test

Fecal coliform bacteria are a subset of total coliform bacteria. E. coli belongs to the fecal coliform group. The presence of E. coli is a good indicator of fecal contamination and of the potential presence of other waterborne pathogens that are associated with human and animal fecal contamination. The absence of E. coli within a water system is used as the basis for considering water safe to drink.

Metals

Lead

Materials that contain Lead have been commonly used in the construction of water supply distribution systems and plumbing systems in homes and commercial buildings. Lead is a heavy metal that has the potential to cause numerous adverse health effects in humans. The most significant and probable health effects associated with infants and children who drink water exceeding the action level are delays in their physical or mental development. Children can display attention span deficits and learning disabilities. Adults who consume contaminated water over many years can develop high blood pressure or kidney problems. Common sources of Lead contamination are household plumbing systems (service lines, pipes, brass and bronze fixtures, and solders and fluxes). The EPA has established an action level of 0.015 mg/L for Lead in drinking water.

Iron

The secondary, recommended maximum contaminant level for iron is 0.3 mg/L. The presence of iron in our drinking water can be attributed to two primary sources: natural geologic sources and aging/corroding water distribution systems and piping. Iron-based materials such as cast iron and galvanized steel have been widely used within our distribution systems and household plumbing. One of the most frequent consumer complaints about drinking water is discoloration. Iron quantities that exceed 0.3 mg/L in drinking water can cause an unpleasant metallic taste and a rusty color. Elevated levels of iron in drinking water can stain laundered items and plumbing fixtures, damage water equipment, and reduce the effectiveness of water treatment techniques for other contaminants. Iron is an essential mineral for human health in small concentrations. Ingestion of iron from drinking water is not directly associated with adverse health effects; however, trace impurities and microorganisms that are adsorbed by iron solids may pose human health concerns. Iron analysis performed by EPA 200.8, not EPA 200.7.

Manganese

The secondary, recommended maximum contaminant level for manganese is 0.05 mg/L. Manganese is a naturally occurring element that is commonly found in soil, air, and water. Elevated levels of manganese in drinking water can stain laundered items and plumbing fixtures with a brownish color. Like iron, manganese is an essential nutrient for humans. Adverse health effects can be caused by inadequate intake or overexposure. The main route of human exposure to manganese is ingestion of food. Manganese ingestion from drinking water is normally substantially lower when compared to manganese ingestion from food. The health effects from over-exposure to manganese are dependent upon several factors, including the route of exposure, the chemical form, the age at exposure, and an individual’s nutritional status. The nervous system has been determined to be the primary target. Many of the reports of humans.

Inorganic Chemicals

Nitrate/Nitrite

Nitrates and nitrites are nitrogen-oxygen chemical units which combine with various organic and inorganic compounds. Nitrates occur naturally in mineral deposits, soils, seawater and freshwater systems, the atmosphere, and in regional plant life. Nitrates are most commonly used as a fertilizer. Once nitrates are consumed, they are converted to nitrites. The toxicity of nitrate in humans is due to the body’s reduction of nitrate to nitrite. Infants younger than six months of age who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the maximum contaminant level can become seriously ill. These illness symptoms include shortness of breath and Blue Baby Syndrome. If infants become ill and they do not receive treatment, their sickness can become fatal. Major sources of nitrate in drinking water include fertilizer run-off, leaching from septic tanks (sewage), and erosion of natural deposits. The EPA has set an enforceable regulation for nitrate at 10 mg/L and for nitrite at 1 mg/L.

Physical Factors

pH

pH is a numerical expression indicating the degree to which water is acidic or alkaline. pH is represented on a scale of 0 to 14 with 0 being the most acidic, 14 the most alkaline, and 7 being neutral. The secondary, recommended maximum contaminant level range for pH is 6.5 to 8.5. Both low and high pH levels are deemed undesirable due to the effects upon both water systems and taste. Low pH (acidic) levels can have a corrosive effect on metal plumbing and fixtures and can also cause Lead leaching from pipe solder and brass plumbing fixtures. Metallic taste is frequently associated with acidic water while a bitter taste may be associated with alkaline (high pH) water. High pH levels reduce the effectiveness of chlorine disinfection. High degrees of mineralization are also associated with alkaline water which leads to encrustation of water supply lines.

Turbidity 

Turbidity is a measure of water clarity, and it is an expression of the optical property of a water sample which causes light to be scattered and absorbed rather than passing straight through a sample. Turbidity is caused by the presence of dissolved and/or suspended matter such as microscopic organisms, soil particles (clay, silt, and sand), and other fine particles of both organic and inorganic matter. As the number of particles increase, more light is scattered and absorbed, and turbidity increases. Turbidity is used to indicate water quality and filtration effectiveness. Higher turbidity levels are often associated with higher levels of disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites, and some bacteria. Turbidity readings are expressed as nephelometric turbidity units (NTU). For water systems using conventional or direct filtration methods, turbidity cannot exceed 1.0 NTU; turbidity must be less than or equal to 0.3 NTU in at least 95 percent of samples collected within any month. Systems that use filtration other than conventional or direct filtration must follow state limits, which at no time may exceed 5.0 NTU

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