Coliform bacteria are a collection of microorganisms that are found in soil, surface water, vegetation, and animal waste. Coliform bacteria cause no observable odor, taste, or color change in water. Testing is the only way to determine if they are present. This is why it is important to have your water tested yearly. Coliform bacteria are reliable indicator organisms for testing water quality because they travel with disease producing organisms. The presence of coliform bacteria in water usually indicates that the water is unsuitable for drinking. A thorough chlorination process must be followed to eliminate the bacteria from the well. The water should then be re-tested to confirm the presence or absence of bacteria.
One group of coliform bacteria, fecal coliforms, is associated with human and animal waste. E.coli is a type of fecal coliform bacteria found in the intestines of both humans and animals. Some species of E.coli can cause health-related problems. Testing for total coliform bacteria is a reliable indicator for testing water quality because they travel with disease producing organisms. Waterborne transmission occurs through swimming in contaminated lakes, pools, or drinking contaminated water. The primary source of E.coli contamination in well water is the ground and soil around the well. The presence of E.coli in water is an indication of recent sewage or animal waste contamination. Water contaminated with E.coli is unsuitable for drinking. This is why it is important to have your water tested yearly. If E.coli bacteria are present, a thorough chlorination process must be followed to eliminate their presence from the well. The water should then be re-tested to confirm the presence or absence of bacteria.
Nitrates and nitrites are nitrogen-oxygen chemical units which combines with various organic and inorganic compounds. The major sources of nitrates or nitrites in drinking water include runoff from fertilizer use, sewage, and erosion of natural deposits. Nitrogen is an important parameter to monitor. Excessive amounts of nitrate or nitrite in water can cause methemoglobinaemia (blue baby syndrome) which can potentially be fatal. These contaminants can also cause adult illness and produce spontaneous abortion in cows. The EPA recommended limit for nitrates is 10 mg/L and for nitrites is 1 mg/L.
Lead is a metal found in natural deposits as ores containing other elements. It is sometimes used in household plumbing materials or in water service lines used to bring water from the main to the home. The main source of lead in drinking water is from corrosion of household plumbing systems. Lead and its compounds are poisonous and accumulate in the bone structure when ingested in amounts exceeding the natural elimination rate of about 300 ug per day. Accumulation of significant amounts of lead in the body may cause severe and permanent brain damage, convulsions, and death. The EPA recommended limit for lead is 0.015 mg/L.
pH is the measure of the hydrogen ion content of a solution. It measures the acidity or alkalinity of water. pH is measured on a scale of 0-14. A pH of 7 is neutral and is considered desirable in most cases. A pH above 7 indicates an alkaline, or basic, water condition that is not usually harmful in residential applications. A pH below 7 indicates an acidic water condition. When pH drops below 6.5, the water is corrosive to metal pipes. This not only means that the pipes , faucets, etc. can be damaged by low pH water, but also that the water can contain high levels of copper, lead, or zinc that have corroded out of the plumbing system. For this reason it is always desirable to raise the pH of the water as close to 7 as possible. Blue-green staining of fixtures and laundry are characteristic of acidic water. Green stains on plumbing fixtures are indicative of copper pipes being corroded by low pH water.
Chlorine is the prevailing choice for disinfection and biofouling control of drinking water, waste water, industrial water conditioning and swimming pool water. Too much chlorine can be as harmful as too little, so chlorine must be monitored carefully. High quantities of chlorine can cause health-related problems. The level of chlorine residual for drinking water must be checked regularly. Monitoring chlorine residual is essential for successful and efficient chlorination. A minimum free chlorine residual of 0.2 mg/L should be sufficient to maintain disinfection. Chlorine residual over 1.0 mg/L is too high and leaves a bad taste in the water.
Tannins are organic materials dissolved in the water. It is a product of decomposed plant material which occurs in natural waters. They can interfere with water softener filter resin beds and impart a distinctive yellow-brown color to the water. Tannins can also be associated with organically bound iron. Levels above 0.5 mg/L cause light brown or yellowish stains on laundry and fixtures. These levels can also affect the taste of foods and beverages.
Information coming soon.
Water hardness is caused almost entirely by calcium and magnesium ions. The amount of these ions and the amount of time the water stays in contact with them determines the water hardness level. Hard water causes scale formation in boilers, boiler feedwater heaters, feed lines, and economizers. In cooling water systems, scale will develop in heat exchange equipment and wherever water circulates and is exposed to a temperature change. Hard water also causes “soap curd” on fixtures, tile, dishes, and laundry. The water also has a low sudsing characteristic. Hard water aggravates dry skin conditions, takes the shine out of hair, and clings to skin. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon. Hardness is measured as follows: Soft water is 0-1 GPG; Slightly hard water is 1-3.5 GPG; Moderately hard water is 3.5-7.0 GPG; Hard water is 7.0-10.5 GPG; Very hard water is 10.5 GPG & over.
Manganese in water is a common, naturally occurring problem. It can also be introduced by industry. Manganese is usually found in combination with iron. It causes a bitter taste in water, and at concentrations above 0.05 mg/L, it causes dark scale in pipes and water heaters. High levels of manganese cause black staining of plumbing fixtures and laundry, and clogs up submersible pumps and pipes. The EPA recommended limit is 0.05 mg/L.
Zinc is commonly found in many natural waters. The deterioration of galvanized iron and leaching of brass can add substantial amounts of zinc to water. Industrial effluents may also contribute large amounts of zinc to drinking water. Zinc is essential to human metabolism and has been found to be necessary for proper body growth. Although essential in our diet, high zinc concentrations in water can irritate the human digestive system. Levels above 5 mg/L cause a bitter metallic taste and opalescence in alkaline drinking water. High concentrations of zinc suggest the presence of lead and cadmium, common impurities from the galvanizing process. The EPA recommended limit is 5 mg/L.
Our laboratory is certified by the State of Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals to perform bacteriological analysis on private drinking water. We are the only privately owned state certified laboratory in Louisiana.
Our certificates can be used for real estate closings and are accepted for FHA and VA financing.
The unique aspect of Water Test, Inc. is that most test results are available within 24 hours. This quick availability aids in expediting home closings as well as giving you peace of mind in knowing your water is safe to drink. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recommends testing private well water yearly for bacteria and nitrates. By testing your water annually, you safeguard your family against consuming contaminated water.