Understanding Your Well Water Test Report
How to read your water test report? Since you are using well water at home, it's important to know what's in your water. To use the chart best, it helps to know some key terms it mentions.
1. pH (Potential Hydrogen):
The pH scale ranges from 1-14. A pH value less than 7 indicates acidic water, 7 is neutral, and any value between 7-14 suggests basic or alkaline water. The pH level can influence which oxidant is most effective for your water.
2. Iron (Fe):
If your water has more than 0.3 mg/L (or ppm) of dissolved iron, you might notice staining on fixtures and laundry. This is the maximum recommended level, and anything beyond this can cause aesthetic and functional issues.
3. Manganese (Mn):
A level above 0.05 ppm of manganese can lead to brown or black staining on fixtures and laundry. It can also result in deposits within pipes and fixtures.
Water hardness is primarily due to calcium. A reading less than 8 grains per gallon (gpg) is generally acceptable. Water between 1 to 3 gpg is considered soft, while over 8 to 10 gpg indicates hard water. Hard water can lead to white spots on fixtures and scale buildup in pipes and water heaters.
5. Total Dissolved Solids:
A reading of 500 ppm is the standard maximum recommended level for solids in water. High levels can cause white spots on fixtures and an alkaline taste. In areas like California, the threshold is even higher at 1000 ppm. Beyond this, corrosion issues might arise.
6. Total Alkalinity:
Water with less than 150 mg/L of alkalinity can be corrosive. On the other hand, high alkalinity water (greater than 150 mg/L) might lead to scaling. It's crucial to note that alkalinity, which measures water's ability to neutralize acids, is not the same as pH.
A nitrate level beyond 10 mg/L can be harmful, especially to young infants or livestock.
8. Copper (Cu):
The maximum recommended level for copper is 1.3 mg/L. Elevated levels might indicate corrosion in household plumbing systems, and consuming such water can lead to copper poisoning.
While not harmful to health, tannins can color water from a faint yellow to brown. They might also give water a musty smell or a bitter taste.
A turbidity level beyond 0.5 NTU is not recommended. High turbidity can make water appear cloudy or opaque, blocking light rays.
In conclusion, understanding these parameters will help you interpret the chart effectively and choose the right oxidant for treating your well water. Always prioritize your health and safety, and when in doubt, consult with a water quality expert.
How to Read Your Water Test Report: Your report will look similar to this:
Dive Deeper: Trusted Resources on Water Chemistry and Testing
Water can be confusing, but with the right help, it's easier to understand. We've found some great links from trusted places that explain water and how to test it.
By checking out these links, you'll learn why testing your home's water is important and how it keeps you safe.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Drinking Water Contaminants: This page offers information about various contaminants that can be found in drinking water, their effects, and the standards set by the EPA.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Private Well Testing: This resource provides guidance on why, when, and how homeowners should test their private wells, ensuring safe drinking water.
- Water Research Center – Basic Water Chemistry: An educational resource that offers a comprehensive overview of basic water chemistry concepts, ideal for readers looking to deepen their understanding.