Drinking Water Quality
Drinking Water Quality
The water we use to drink and bathe can contain a number of unseen water contaminants. Even from city water sources, the drinking water which follows mandatory quality guidelines, can pick up dirt, chemicals, and bacteria on its way to your home.
Water contaminants are present in many homes. Some indicators of nuisance issues are white spots on clean dishes, unwanted color or odor to the water, erosion of appliances and plumbing, and dry or brittle skin, hair, and nails (Secondary Contaminants). Other potentially harmful contaminants, such as Coliform bacteria or E. Coli, can upset the stomach and make you sick (Primary Contaminants). 65% of New Jersey is serviced by private wells, and the water quality should be tested on a regular basis to monitor any changes in chemistry.
Answers to Common Questions about Drinking Water Quality:
Q: My water looks, smells and tastes great, why do I need a water test?
A: It’s quite possible to be drinking contaminated water for years without knowing it. Often the most harmful contaminants have no obvious odors, colors or tastes.
Q: What should I test for?
A: While it is certainly possible to test for everything, this approach is very impractical because it is an expensive and time-consuming process. The EPA recommends that everyone test for coli form bacteria, nitrate and lead. In addition Arsenic has been found to occur in well water, in certain areas of New Jersey, at levels exceeding the drinking water standard. We provide testing that looks for these contaminants as well as other common indicators of contamination.
Q: I have a private well, that was tested when it was installed, why should I test?
A: Contaminants seep into groundwater and can affect your drinking supply and this can change without your awareness. Well water must be tested on a regular basis.
Q: Why can’t I just buy a water filter?
A: Because there is NO ONE filter that will correct EVERY water problem. For example, you can filter out minerals and still have bacteria. In fact, a cheap filter can become so loaded with bacteria in a few weeks that what comes out of it may be worse than what came in. If your water needs treatment, it must be treated for your specific problem.
Q: I can get a FREE water test from any company that sells filters, why should I PAY for a water test?
A: Because those companies are not in the water testing business, they are in the business of selling water filters. This creates a conflict of interests, and you may wind up spending money to treat a problem that doesn’t exist. It is best to use an independent, certified lab, and deal directly with that lab. This way, there is no conflict of interests. NJAL does not sell water treatment products, nor are they affiliated with anyone who does.
Q: How many types of contamination are there?
A: While there are many specific types of contamination, it can be sorted out into four broad categories: Different types of contamination require different solutions.
- Microbial Pollutants (Such as bacteria.)
- Inorganic Chemical Pollutants (IOCs) (Usually of mineral origin.)
- Organic Chemical Pollutants (Man made chemicals.)
- Radiological Pollutants (Radioactivity.)
Q: My water doesn’t taste good, yet it tested out O.K. What does this mean?
A: There are two types of water problems: Primary problems — the dangerous sort of problem and Aesthetic problems — things that affect the taste, look or smell of the water. Strange as it may seem, you could have an aesthetic problem (such as detectable chlorine) which may not pose an actual health risk.
Q: What do I do if I find out my water is unsafe?
A: Because there are many different types of problems each must be addressed separately. The general procedure you should follow is:
- Switch to bottled water for consumption until you have the problem solved. (Consumption isn’t just drinking, it’s cooking, washing produce, making ice cubes, water for pets, etc.)
- Call your County or State Health Department for specific information and instructions on how to treat the problem.
- Track down the SOURCE of the contamination.
- Once you have addressed the problem, have FOLLOW UP TESTING done on a regular basis.
Drinking water Quality Assurance is a step away. Get a water analyis and prevent water contaminants from becoming a problem.