Whether you’re on a municipal water system or well water, testing your water is an important step when it comes to owning a home. I would even test your water if you rent your home. You just never know what you’ll find. Water contaminants come in many forms and sometimes disguise themselves relatively well.
“Water can be contaminated in several ways. It can contain microorganisms like bacteria and parasites that get in the water from human or animal fecal matter. It can contain chemicals from industrial waste or from spraying crops. Nitrates used in fertilizers can enter the water with runoff from the land. Various minerals such as lead or mercury can enter the water supply, sometimes from natural deposits underground, or more often from improper disposal.” – WebMD
Public vs Well Water
Public water systems are regulated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), so you are unlikely to find extremely harmful toxins, at least not in detrimental amounts. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your water is completely free of all toxins and unsafe chemicals. Things like chlorine, lead, bromodichloromethane, chloroform and arsenic might be present. Not all of these chemicals are in drinking water in every area of the country. Those are just a few examples of the scariest possibilities out there.
Well water systems are even more dangerous in terms of water contaminants and pollutants because they are generally unregulated. In the Virginia area, you may find a lot of nitrates, pesticides and/or bacteria in your water due to the agricultural based local economy. It is also possible that well systems are infiltrated by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are industrial and fuel-related contaminants. As time goes on, the ground and chemicals in it change as well. So you should truly test your well water on a regular basis. The CDC recommends you test your well water every spring.
Basically, what you find in your water will depend on where you are and how you get water in your home. Consult with your local water treatment and testing facilities for specific information on your system.
- Disinfection Byproducts
- Inorganic Chemicals
- Organic Chemicals