For Free Consultation:
(757) 236 0076 firstlookhomeinspect@gmail.com

FIRST LOOK HOME INSPECTION

We Service all of the Hampton Roads Area

Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Franklin, Smithfield, Carrollton, Yorktown and surrounding areas.

Address:
Hampton, VA
Phone: (757) 236 0076
Email: firstlookhomeinspect@gmail.com

Why Test Your Water?

Public water systems are required to regular test and treat water for certain contaminants according to the rules and regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Testing your water from a public system could indicate problems in your home's plumbing, connections or treatment system.

Most private systems are in rural or suburban areas. Private well owners are responsible for monitoring the quality of their water. Testing for possible contaminants on a regular schedule is the only way to be certain your water supply is safe.

Occasional problems do occur in the state's water supplies. Nuisance problems generally do not present a health risk, but the water may not be acceptable for all household activities. The most common nuisance problems are objectionable taste, odor, color and hardness. Once properly identified, these problems can often be corrected with water treatment systems.

Testing for every possible contaminant is unnecessary and expensive. This will help you identify the tests you need for your water supply. Testing confirms a problem exists so appropriate treatment can be recommended and you do not purchase expensive, unnecessary treatment systems.

Which Tests?
Your first concern is to provide your family with a safe source of water. Private well-owners should test for total coliform bacteria and nitrate. The presence or absence of bacteria or nitrate often indicates the safety of your water supply. Testing must be done to detect these contaminants since both are typically invisible, odorless and tasteless.

Coliform bacteria are found in the digestive tract of all birds and mammals. Most coliform bacteria are not harmful themselves, but point to an unsanitary condition and possible presence of disease causing agents. In some cases the bacteria are found in the pipes or well and not the water supply itself.

Sources of nitrate include food, water and soil. High levels of nitrate in the water supply can cause infant cyanosis (blue baby) in children under six months. Chronic, long-term risks are not known at this time. Like coliform bacteria, the presence of nitrate indicates the possibility other contaminants.

The following table lists problems found in water supplies and the appropriate tests to request. You should review your particular concerns with your county Health Department, Cooperative Extension office or water testing lab when selecting the appropriate tests.

Problem or Concern                                  Test

Appearance:
Frothy, Foamy ……………………………………Detergents
Black flakes …………………………………..Manganese
Brown or Yellow…………………………………..Iron, Tannic Acid

Stains on fixtures
or clothing:
Red or Brown………………………………………Iron
Black ………………………………………………....Manganese
Green or Blue …………………………………….Copper

Odor or Taste:
Bitter …………………………………………………Nitrate, Sulfates
Rotten Egg ………………………………………..Hydrogen Sulfide
Metallic ……………………………………………..pH, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Lead
Salty ………………………………………………….Total Dissolved Solids, Chloride,

Sodium
Septic, Musty, Earthy ……………………….Total Coliform Bacteria, Iron
Soapy …………………………………………………Detergents (Surfactants)
Gasoline or Oil…………………………………….Hydrocarbon Scan, Aromatic Volatile

Organic Chemicals
White deposits on……………………………… Hardness
pots and fixtures,
soap scum
Discoloration of …………………………………..Fluoride
children's teeth

Family or guests ……………………………..Total Coliform Bacteria,
become ill                                                            Nitrate, Sulfates
Water supply used for Nitrate
infant less than six
months old
Corrosion of plumbing Corrosivity, ………pH, Lead, Iron, Zinc,
Manganese, Copper Sulfates, Chloride

If You Suspect or Observe
Test Contamination from:
Old lead pipe or solder ………………………..Lead, Copper, pH, Zinc
Leaking fuel tank ……………………………….. Hydrocarbon Scan, Aromatic
Volatile Organic Chemicals

Coal mining …………………………………………..Total Dissolved Solids, Iron,
Sulfates, pH, Corrosion
Index, Manganese,
Aluminum, Arsenic, Selenium

Gas and oil drilling …………………………………Total Dissolved Solids,
Chloride, Sodium,
Barium, Lead, pH, Corrosion
Index, Strontium, Volatile
Organic Scan

Landfill ……………………………………………………Total Dissolved Solids, pH,
Volatile Organic Scan, Heavy
Metal Scan

Septic systems …………………………………………Total Coliform Bacteria,
Nitrate, Detergents, Total
Dissolved Solids, Chloride,
Sodium, Sulfates

Land application of sludge …………………….Total Coliform Bacteria,
Nitrate, Metals
(Lead, Cadmium)

Intensive agriculture ………………………………..Total Coliform practices
Bacteria, Nitrate, Pesticide
Scan, pH, Total Dissolved
Solids

Livestock feed lots …………………………………Total Coliform Bacteria,
Nitrate, Total Dissolved
Solids, Total Organic Carbons  

Road salt ………………………………………………Total Dissolved Solids, Chloride, Sodium 

When To Test
Private wells should be tested yearly for coliform bacteria, nitrate, hardness and pH. Tests for iron, sulfates and chloride should be done every three to five years. If you are expecting a baby in your home you should test for nitrate at the beginning of the pregnancy. Depending on the test results, you may wish to test again before bringing the baby home and during the baby's first six months.

Even if you have a public water supply your water should be tested for total coliform bacteria if you make any changes in your plumbing or water treatment system which could introduce a contaminant. Before buying a new house have the water tested for bacteria and nitrate to insure its quality. Lending agencies often require the bacteria test before approving a loan.

If you have an old or shallow well, it is especially important to test your water regularly. Older methods of well construction, and the well's location in relation to septic or livestock facilities on many farms, makes older and shallow wells prone to contamination.

You should test for bacteria if your well head becomes flooded or submerged. Following a chemical spill or leak within 500 feet of your well, test your water for possible contamination. Also test your water supply if your neighbors have found contamination. Report unknown contamination or objectionable taste, odor or color in a private well to: Department of Public Health.

Testing
Discuss your water problems with your county Health Department or water testing lab. After contacting the lab your next step will be to take the sample. Follow the instructions from the lab closely. Keep a record of the test results. The records will show any change in your water quality you may not have noticed. Records are also necessary if you need to prove an outside activity, such as a spill or leak, affected your water supply.

Home screening tests
Currently on the market are screening tests to conduct various water tests in your home, such as tests for hardness, iron or nitrate. Many public agencies also conduct screening programs as a public service. Keep in mind these tests are a simplified version of the tests conducted by a lab. The results do not indicate if your water is safe to drink, only whether your sample contains the tested contaminant and the approximate level. These screening tests serve as useful tools for indicating if further testing is needed. If the results are positive, you should follow up with a test from a lab.

For Further Information: For further information on water testing or suspected contamination in your area, contact your local Health Department or county Cooperative Extension office.