What Tests Should Be Conducted for Well Water?

If you have a private well on your property, it's up to you to get the water tested regularly and ensure its safety before you use it for drinking or bathing. You should definitely have the water tested if it seems off-color or tastes foul, but it's also good to have it tested at least annually to ensure that nothing has contaminated the water. When scheduling tests for your water, you may be given a list of options, and it may be up to you to determine exactly what a water testing lab will look for, so note the following choices and why they're so important.

1. Bacteria

This should be a standard part of testing water, as the abundance of certain microorganisms can be very dangerous to human health. Along with bacteria, it's good to have the water tested for parasites. This is especially important if your water is at risk of being contaminated with bacteria or parasites, such as if your property is near an animal farm where bacteria and parasites from manure can make their way into the groundwater and soil.

2. Fluoride

While some fluoride is good for the teeth, too much of it in your water can actually cause dental problems. If you seem to have irritation in the mouth for unknown reasons, you might have your water tested for excessive amounts of fluoride.

3. pH Levels

This test examines the acidity of water. If the pH levels are too high or too low, this can actually damage the pipes through which your water travels. In turn, lead from the pipes can actually leak into the water and make its way into your taps. Testing the pH levels can ensure that no damage is done to the pipes and that your water isn't so acidic that it may actually affect your overall health.

4. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that are usually fuel-related or which may come from industrial plants. They are also typically released in industrial and household paints. The term volatile organic compound covers a number of these chemicals, including benzene and toluene, all of which are very harmful to your health. If you live near an industrial plant of any sort, it's good to have your water tested for these VOCs. You can also typically call your local environmental agency and ask if your area is at high risk for VOC contamination, and if so, be sure to include this in your water testing.

For more information, contact local water testing labs.