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EPA Home Water Testing Recommendations

2005_09_14_faq_fs_homewatertesting

Should I Have My Water Tested?
The answer to this question depends on several factors. It
concerns your health and the health of your family, so you
need to know some basic facts.
In addition to illness, a variety
of less serious problems
such as taste, color, odor and
staining of clothes or fi xtures
are signs of possible water
quality problems. Other
things to think about include
the nearness of your water
well to septic systems and the
composition of your home’s
plumbing materials.
This fact sheet provides
information to help you decide whether or not to have your
water tested, and if so, suggested tests for your situation.
Public Water Systems
When you turn on the tap, where does the water come
from? If you pay a water bill, you are purchasing water
from a public water system, where your water is monitored,
tested and the results reported to the
federal, state or tribal drinking water
agencies responsible for making sure it
meets the National Primary Drinking
Water Standards. Your water company
must notify you when contaminants
are in the water they provide that may
cause illness or other problems.
Most people in the United States
receive water from a community water
system that provides its customers with
an annual water quality report, also known as a Consumer
Confi dence Report. Normally, you will receive it with
your water bill once a year in July. The report contains
information on contaminants found, possible health effects,
and the water’s source. If you do not receive a report,
contact your water company for this information.
Private Water Supplies
If your drinking water does not come from a public water
system, or you get your drinking water from a household
well, you alone
are responsible
for assuring
that it is safe.
For this reason,
routine testing
for a few of the
most common
contaminants
is highly recommended. Even if you currently have a safe,
pure water supply, regular testing can be valuable because
it establishes a record of water quality. This record is
helpful in solving any future problems and in obtaining
compensation if someone damages your water supply.