The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has water testing standards for 265 registered contaminants – a complex, laborious, and expensive battery of testing.

But what should you test for, and how can you better understand the results?

In your area, testing for bacteria, pH, nitrates, sand and turbidity provides a manageable cross-section of the water quality. Treatment companies will also frequently test for total dissolved solids [TDS] and “hardness”, important cosmetic indicators for your water which can be treated in conjunction with any health-related testing.

Because of immediate health concerns, bacteria should never be tolerated – they can be mediated with chemicals administered by professionals at a mutually convenient time. Nitrates should be considered a worry if over regulatory levels, as they can have long-term impacts on health, particularly for the young, seniors, immunosuppressed individuals, and females of childbearing age.

Aside from health issues, pH should be tested due to its impact on plumbing. Over time, pin hole perforations created by acidic water will require the replacement of interior pipes and fixtures at considerable expense. The best reading is 7.0 (neutral water), but results in the 6.5 to 7.5 range are considered satisfactory. Results lower than 6.5 indicate acidic water and results over 7.5 show basic or alkaline water. Both acidic and alkaline water should be treated for the long term protection of the well system and your health.

Turbidity levels should be monitored due to the potential introduction of iron in the water, and results over 10 should be remediated.

Other health-concerning test results in the area have included MTBE (a gasoline additive), radium, radon, and arsenic.

The Environmental Protection Agency (a US government authority), as well as all county health and water departments recommend having your water tested annually, for a “check up”. Your well water is a key factor in your family’s health status.

Make sure that you are properly advised on your results, as water testing is only an effective tool if you can understand, interpret, and act upon the results. Let the objective water professionals of WelGard® answer your questions and decode your test results!

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The Well Worth It Blog is all about residential wells, why we love them, and how to keep yours healthy and flowing clean, drinkable water for you and your family.