Clean and readily accessible drinking water is something that those of us in North America often take for granted. Even when we hear of communities that have contaminated water problems, we still believe it can never happen to us. In reality, our water quality can be susceptible to contaminants.
Some of the more common contaminants include:
Iron Bacteria and Sulphur Bacteria:
These type of bacteria are not known to be harmful or cause disease in humans, however, they do change the colour, smell, and taste of water.
- Bacteria that can Cause Disease:
E. coli and Coliform are the most common of these bacteria and present a health risk.
This can cause a yellowish colour in the water and have a bitter taste.
Water can appear black or purple colour and also have a bitter taste.
- Hydrogen Sulphide (Sulphur):
Water will have a rotten egg smell and sometimes it is caused by bacteria.
- Hard water:
Excessive calcium carbonate in the water.
This can be caused by lead solder or old brass plumbing and can be a health hazard.
- Sand or grit
Testing your Water Quality
Testing the water in your home or cottage is a relatively inexpensive and effective way of determining the quality of your drinking water. Basically, you have two options, you can purchase a home test kit and perform the test yourself or you can call your plumber who can perform the test for you.
When it comes to drinking water test kits for home use these are readily available at most local hardware stores and some health food stores. Often these tests are very simple to use.
Cardboard Strip Tests
These tests work by showing you the level of contamination by a change of colour on the test strip once it has been exposed to the water. There are also home test kits available to test for bacteria, pesticides, lead, nitrates, arsenic, nitrites, chlorine, pH, and water hardness. These can be purchased as individual tests or as “all in one” kits. The all in one kits often include several combinations of tests, for some, it could contain all the listed contaminants.
Always check to ensure the kit you choose has been approved by Canadian water quality guidelines. The kit should also include information and instructions on what to do if the test determines that your water is contaminated. Of course, common sense also dictates that if you suspect your water is contaminated you should contact your local public health unit.
For the safety of you and your family, it’s important to test your drinking water at least once per year. If your water source is from a well you should test the water at least twice a year. For anyone who has experienced previous problems with your drinking water, you should test at least once every one to two months.
For more information regarding your home’s water quality or for professional service to test your home’s water quality, contact us and our team of experts at Taylor’s Plumbing will be ready to help.