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Need Help Deciding What to Test For?

Did you know that just because your water is clear and tastes good doesn't mean that it's safe to drink?

Water purity or bacteriological suitability is determined by testing for coliform bacteria. E. Coli are found in large numbers as normal inhabitants of the intestinal tract of mammals. Their presence in water is indicative of fecal contamination. Some serotypes of coliform can cause intestinal disease, particularly in young children or otherwise weakened individuals. Symptoms may include nausea, vomitting, cramping or dysentery.

Other pathogens, or disease producing organisms, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter or Giardia enter the water supply via the same method of contamination as E.Coli. Laboratories do not routinely test for these pathogens due to the fact that they are very difficult to isolate and identify, are found in very small numbers, enter the water supply sporadically, and do not survive long in water. Hence, they are likely to be missed by routine laboratory screening procedures. E. Coli is an indicator organism, which is much easier and more cost effective to identify.

A heterotrophic plate count may be done to determine the overall bacteriological quality of drinking water. This will test for the presence of non-fecal organisms. Good quality water should contain <100 cfu/100ml.

Color, odor and turbidity are physical characteristics which may be used as indicators for potential problems.

pH indicates the acidity or alkalinity of water. Generally, a pH of 6.0-8.0 is desirable. Excessive variation in either direction may to contribute to corrosion.

Hardness in water affects lathering of soap and causes scale deposits. Slightly hard water is preferred to completely soft water since slight scale may protect against corrosion.

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