Where / how to get water independantly tested?


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Old 10-28-09, 01:25 PM
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Where / how to get water independantly tested?

Hello all!

I've been reading like crazy trying to figure out how to treat the water in our new house (we are located in Cypress, a suburb of Houston on city water). I know that the first thing I need to do is get the water tested, but I am having a very hard time figuring out how to do that. I've tried looking in the phone book for an independant lab but none of them offer a "drinking water quality" test. They all want me to specify exactly what to test for.

I have seen a couple of on-line test companies, but they seem to want $200-$250 for a drinking water assessment which seems very high considering the water softener will probably only cost me $5-600.

So my first question is: Where do I get my water tested and / or what do I ask to be tested for?

Once I can do that, I can report back and seek further advice.

I have a couple other questions, but I'll wait to post them once I get the water analyzed

Thanks!

Russell
 
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Old 10-28-09, 04:55 PM
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You can go to your city water company and ask for the test they have. It will tell you the amount of chlorine, iron and hardness. You can alos take a sample to Sears and they will test for hardness and chlorine.
 
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Old 10-29-09, 12:54 AM
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Thew biggest question is what are you trying to remove from the water? If you just want to soften it then all you need is a hardness test. If you have iron issues and want to remove the chlorine too, then you need to know those values as well as the pH of the water. If you are looking to treat JUST the drinking water and want it ultra pure then an RO unit will handle that for you.
 
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Old 10-29-09, 06:51 AM
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biermech and shane21,

I can dig up a copy of the city water report, but everything I've been reading here says I should get *my* water tested as the contaminants in my water may be different from the city water sample, and that makes a lot of sense. However, I'm having significant difficulty doing that without spending a lot of money on an internet company. If that's the only route, then I'll do it, but I just assumed there would be a simpler, more cost-effective way.

I definitely want to treat all the water, not just the drinking water. Specifically, I know that our water is hard and want to take care of that. I don't know what else is in the water, but would like to know and find out if I should treat for it.

We are on city water so it is generally decent water. I have no problem with odor, coloration, etc. However, I don't know what I don't know By that, I mean that I don't know what I should be taking out of the water. You specifically mentioned iron and chlorine, I assume those are 2 common issues with city water? I assumed I'd be using some sort of filtration prior to the softener, I just don't know what kind or how many

I guess my thoughts were to get a detailed water sample so that I could figure out what is in the water, then with the help of this forum, figure out how to get rid of whatever needs to be removed. I didn't think that a basic hardness test from Sears would be good enough for that purpose?
 
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Old 10-29-09, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by trpltongue View Post
Hello all!

So my first question is: Where do I get my water tested and / or what do I ask to be tested for?

Thanks!

Russell
""Water quality in Cypress (zip 77433), TX is 37 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). The EPA has a complex method of measuring watershed quality using 15 indicators."" Cypress, Texas (TX) - Sperling's BestPlaces

When it comes to DRINKING water, get as much detail as possible. For residential purposes, normally there are two factors: Aesthetics and health. Testing for hardness, iron, etc., can address how water affects plumbing fixtures, clothing, soap use, skin/hair (non-health related), etc.

When it comes to health, then toxins, pathogens, carcinogens, and other matters that can affect health negatively are focused on. For these results only lab tests can reveal issues.

Does your water come from surface water or deep wells?

Call local university labs and see if they offer water quality tests. The city water supply is required to post their results.

I agree that an RO will correct many water issues but that may require a whole house, or pre-RO water treatment to avoid an early demise of the system. There are advantages to a softener in your area as well.

In addition to (or substituting) chlorine, the city may be injecting chloramines or bromide into water supplies. Phosphates, fluoride and other chemical may be routinely supplied. Nitrates/nitrites, and a plethora of other contaminants are typically found in any water supply—not to say that your water is dangerous or contains hazardous matter. The more you have, the more an RO has to work and the more beneficial it will be.

If you do buy a total water management system (whole-house/RO), then avoid taking shortcuts and get quality equipment.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II
 
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Old 10-29-09, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by AndyC View Post
Call local university labs and see if they offer water quality tests. The city water supply is required to post their results.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II
Thanks Andy. I almost forgot. Texas A&M does a really good test. I believe it was $50.00 for the most things tested.
 
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Old 10-29-09, 12:46 PM
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Thanks Andy, for the comprehensive reply!

I don't know if the water comes from surface water or deep wells unfortunately.

Here is a link to the Texas A&M testing options:
http://soiltesting.tamu.edu/files/waterweb1.pdf

Looks like it's probably a pretty good test and reasonably priced at $35 for the whole shebang. The only downside is that they specifically state they do not test for bacteria, pesticides, or any other organic compounds. Will this give me enough information to understand what I need to treat for?
 
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Old 10-29-09, 01:46 PM
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I have to say given where I live I find the suggestion to view the water department tests a bit humorous. For years the police lab was faking tests including DNA and one ME was found guilty of lying about autopsy results so I should believe the water departments report?
 
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Old 10-29-09, 09:12 PM
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trpltongue,

Around here there are many private EPA certified water labs that will test for anything you ask them to test for. When we collect a sample under EPA jurisdiction the testing can cost over $1200.00 and they literally test for over 400 different things (elements, organics, etc.) The point here is they can test for anything but they need you to tell them what you're looking for.

Most labs have a list of things they test for. Since you are on a municipal system it's a pretty certain bet they handle all the bacterial issues with some sort of sterilization process - usually chlorine - and I doubt iron or manganese will be much of an issue in the system either. If I were you I would request a copy of the water test results they do on the system and see what it shows. I'm guessing a softener will be plenty for your situation and unless you cannot stand the smell of the chlorine in the water you probably don't even need anything else. Again test results will help you determine that.

As for the minute concentrations of dangerous items the only real issue would be consuming those. If you're worried add an RO unit to the system to handle just the drinking water.
 
 

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