Where to get water test done?

Old 07-06-10, 01:46 PM
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Where to get water test done?

VERY newb question...where should I get a water test done?

We are fully planning on doing a water softener using something like a Fleck, but to have any clue what to plan to get, we need a water test. And I don't feel good about having Kinetico or Culligan or any of those guys come out and do a test under the premise of selling me a system, since I'm going to do it myself.

So perhaps the better question is "who could I pay to do ONLY a water test?"

Old 07-06-10, 02:03 PM
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Most local state universities have a dept that does that. Check your local Health Dept and Extension Service websites...they'll prob have info.

If you had filled in your location when signing up I could be more specific....
Old 07-06-10, 03:36 PM
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Whoops, got the fields that asked which state and county, overlooked the city one. Sorry about that...updated now. Thanks for the help!

Edit - Noticed that the "location" part still didn't show up on my post. I'm in Sioux Falls, SD. Not sure where the information for location is pulled from...I have the city, state, and county fields entered in my user CP and couldn't find a field marked "location". Sorry..

Last edited by Aegwyn11; 07-06-10 at 03:39 PM. Reason: Location??
Old 07-06-10, 05:41 PM
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Welcome Aegwyn11,

I recently replaced my whole house water system, and decided to re-do everything except replacing the well. I also installed an under sink kitchen RO.

If you do some independent research, you will find ďprosĒ saying the first step is to do a water test before deciding on equipment. Whole house water systems, other than ROís, only correct common water problems. The tests performed by companies selling water conditioning equipment are extremely basic, and donít test for a broad spectrum of known contaminants that could pose health risks. EPA sets two types of standards although they do not regulate well water. Primary standards are contaminant levels (MCL or maximum containment level) based on toxicity and adverse health effects. Secondary standards are contaminant levels (SMCL or secondary maximum containment level) based on aesthetics such as color or odor which do not pose a risk to health. Water tests performed by dealers selling equipment are testing for concentrations of contaminants which cause unpleasant tastes, or effect color or odor. Issues effecting health was the main reason for me testing the water, and secondarily was an independent assessment on concentrations of contaminants which cause unpleasant tastes, odors, or colors in the water before buying the water treatment equipment they were recommending. In other words, I wanted to preserve the option of installing a whole house RO system should a primary contaminant, exceeding its MCL, was discovered by conducting the water test.

The next thorny issue is what water test to do. I first headed in direction of having it done by a local water testing laboratory. Doing broad spectrum testing can get very expensive, and selecting a limited number of tests ran more than $750 and doing more went over $1,000. I didnít want to spend that kind of money since the test is only telling you what was present at a moment in time, and should be repeated periodically. Another issue popped up when I discovered in reading my state regulations that a local lab must report to the state and local health department if they discover a primary contaminant exceeding its MCL. Having experience in business transactions where land or industrial sites are being acquired, Iím extremely wary of getting the government involved until I first understand the scope of an environmental problem. For that reason, I choose a national water testing lab as they are not subject to that reporting requirement, except within the state they operate. After talking with some knowledgable folks locally as well as having a lengthy conversation w/ the man who has an ownership stake in this company, I concluded they were reputable. I choose Water Test Corp. of America, and selected their 177 Contaminant, Multiple Scenario Analysis, Well Test Kit (Test #773) National Well Water Test Kit | 181 Contaminants | Discount Pricing | Watertestamerica.com {it's now 181}. The cost was $197.10 after accounting for a discount and shipping both ways. The only minor glitch experienced was that I did not receive my report back within the time specified . . . after sending an email to them, I got the report back immediately and they apologized for a backlog on the desk of the guy who reviews the work of their lab technicians.

While waiting for results, I had two water equipment dealers perform their simple tests as I wanted a way to calibrate the accuracy of the lab on those particular contaminants . . . they were extremely close (dealers are using color strips so itís an approximation). After getting my test results, I emailed the test report to the dealer whom I was planning to buy the equipment from as a check on me in not missing something. While the report identified the presence of several contaminants in the secondary category, the only contaminant exceeding its SMCL was tannin (color) which the dealer had already taken into account by his equipment recommendation.

Since this subject matter is quite technical, Iíve posted some links saved from doing my research.

EPAís Drinking Water from Wells: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/private...hold_wells.pdf

That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy: The New York Times > Log In {in case youíre on city water}

Home Water Supply/Bob Vila: A primer on drinking water, hard water and problem water concerns and solutions: Home Water Supply - Miscellaneous Plumbing, Plumbing

Wellowner.org/Informing consumers about ground water and water wells: WELLOWNER.ORG

EPA Primary Drinking Water Contaminants: Drinking Water Contaminants | Safewater| Water | US EPA

EPA Secondary Drinking Water Regulations: Guidance for Nuisance Chemicals: EPA Ground Water & Drinking Water

Interpreting Water Test Reports: WQ-5 Interpreting Water Test Reports

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