According to the CDC, the United States has some of the cleanest, safest drinking water in the world. Depending on source, drinking water must meet a number of EPA requirements and regulations. Nevertheless, no matter where you live, contaminants can find their way into your tap water.
What do water testing kits do?
EPA has defined standards as well as treatment techniques that protect you and your family by limiting contaminant levels in drinking water. The regulations cover:
- Disinfection byproducts
- Organic and inorganic chemicals
In order to test for contaminants in your tap water, opt for EPA-approved water testing kits. Many are found on common sites like Amazon or from your local home hardware store, or your local water utility departments. Some water testing kits are made specifically to determine the presence of lead, radon, and other dangerous contaminants.
In order to perform a water testing analysis, you need to know whether your water comes from – either a public water system or private well. The testing kits for each will differ. If you get a utility water bill every month, your water comes from a public water system. These systems require water to be carefully monitored and tested. They are also responsible for ensuring that the water meets national primary drinking water standards. Your water company is mandated to let you know when contaminants are found in the water that can cause illness.
Testing your water
Water testing kits range in price from around $10 for testing strips to $130 for kits that test dozens of contaminants. Some test for pathogenic bacteria and metals such as lead and iron, while some test for alkalinity, pH balance, and hardness levels.
When purchasing a water testing kit, use the containers provided in the kit and follow instructions for the collection, preservation, and handling of water samples. In some cases, a trained technician will come to your house and collect samples and analyze while at your home. County health departments also provide advice or help in testing for bacteria or nitrates, or call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) for advice.
Access the CDC’s standards and regulations for drinking water for national as well as state and public water systems.