No matter what the source, water can be contaminated by chemicals and living organisms. Testing water that is meant for human consumption is critical.
To ensure that the water you are providing meets guidelines, it must be tested in a certified laboratory and the results must be compared to accepted standards.
Testing for Chemicals
A chemical test of your drinking water is essential and should be done at least once every five years.
To give you an idea of what to expect in terms of water quality, government agencies that look after water quality in your area may be able to provide you with information about the type of chemicals in your water. If not, you may find that a neighbour or a previous owner has done a chemical test.
Laboratories that do chemical testing are listed in your telephone directory. Most labs have a “drinking water package” that analyzes for common chemicals. Such labs will ship you sampling bottles along with instructions for water collection and shipping.
Tests for microbiology on untreated surface water sources may not always be informative. Living things may be absent one day but at a hazardous level the next day due to upstream contamination.
It is critical to monitor treated water frequently for dangerous living microorganisms.