Drinking water testing determines a water sample’s chemical, physical, and biological qualities to assess its suitability for drinking, swimming, or supporting an ecosystem.
We rely on our waterways to power our faucets and to sustain our ecosystems. Poor water quality can endanger people’s health as well as the ecosystem as a whole. To adequately manage water quality, we must monitor each characteristic on a regular basis in order to determine its baseline – our ecosystem’s natural resting place.
We can detect trends and respond quickly when an issue emerges by routinely monitoring. Water quality is measured by taking a tiny water sample and measuring individual values for various critical properties.
These can vary depending on who is doing the measuring and why! Clarity, conductivity, temperature, pH, alkalinity, chlorine, hardness, and dissolved oxygen are the most essential characteristics of a water quality measurement. This article will further examine the significance of each one.
The significance of water temperature
Water temperature is an important aspect of any body of water. It alters the density of water, its ability to support life, and its ability to absorb gases (such as CO2) and nutrients.
Some substances can become “soluble” when water temperature rises: consider how rapidly salt dissolves in hot water versus cold water. Warmer water also promotes the growth of algae blooms and other vegetation. When these blooms decay, the water’s dissolved oxygen quantity decreases, making it harder for fish and other aquatic organisms to breathe.
The significance of water clarity
Both natural and manmade causes influence water clarity. When testing, make a note of any recent rains or strange events that have occurred around the test site.
Baseline testing by commercial water testing companies is critical since each body of water has its own set of elements that influence water clarity. If a lake is naturally murky or discolored, it will have extremely low ratings. Taking measurements in the same location over time will provide you with a better understanding of what is normal for your body of water.
The significance of conductivity in water quality
The property of a body of water to conduct electricity allows us to assess its ionic composition (such as chloride, nitrate, sulfate, sodium, magnesium, calcium, or iron).
Conductivity can be used as a form of early detection for possible problems that require additional testing. We know something is amiss if we see a deviation (lower or higher) from our baseline values. While water testing laboratories for heavy metals is usually the only way to know what is producing the measurement, higher conductivity levels may suggest a pollution event.
The significance of pH in water quality
The abbreviation for pH is “potential for Hydrogen.” It quantifies the acidity or alkalinity of water-soluble compounds.
The pH of the water determines how easily nutrients are available and how easily heavy metals (hazardous to aquatic life) dissolve in the water. The pH of rivers and lakes typically ranges from 5 (acidic) to 9 (basic). Whereas ocean water has an average pH of 8.2 (somewhat basic). Low pH can lower the number of fish eggs that hatch and make life tough for fish and macroinvertebrates (the lifeblood of our aquatic ecosystems).
The significance of dissolved oxygen in water quality
The number of gaseous oxygen dissolved in water is referred to as dissolved oxygen. Oxygen enters the water in a variety of ways, including absorption from the atmosphere, rapid movement of the water, and photosynthesis. The water gets its life from oxygen! Fish and plants require specific quantities of oxygen to survive.
The significance of measuring hardness and chlorine levels in water quality
Because they both assess calcium carbonate concentration, hardness and alkalinity are connected. Hardness also takes into account other metals in the water that do not always neutralize acid. It is among the most popular elements of water quality testing. Calcium, in particular, is an essential component of several biological reactions in fish.
Ways to Test for the Quality of Your Water
Understanding the many alternatives for water testing and what to look for in your water is critical. Here’s what you should know.
If you aren’t one with the time to search for ‘home water testing near me,’ you can order test strips to test your own water. The strips detect the presence of specific chemicals by changing color, which is then compared to a chart that can assist in revealing the concentration of the relevant chemical. These tests are frequently used to determine water’s pH or chlorine content.
There are also portable digital tools available for testing your water. These tests produce more accurate results but are more expensive than the prior two types of tests. Because proper instrument training and calibration are critical for obtaining reliable findings, professionals should only handle the instruments.
Professional Laboratory Tests
You should send your water to any licensed water testing companies for the most thorough testing. One such company is Olympian Water Testing. This company provides a variety of tests, ranging from a basic scan to assess how your water compares to EPA drinking guidelines to comprehensive health scans to evaluate whether or not you require further filtration for your drinking water.
Professional potable water testing laboratories like ours may employ more sophisticated colorimetric comparison tests, photometric test kits, or spectrophotometers to determine which pollutants are present in your water and in what quantities.
Conclusion: What to Look for in a Test
If you want to know what to test for, contact us at Olympian Water Testing. Mineral tests can help determine which elements influence your water’s taste, hardness, and odor.
Testing your water’s acidity and pH is also a good idea. Your water may potentially include harmful elements such as arsenic or radon.
We are committed to providing our clients with the greatest quality service possible, guaranteeing that their water satisfies all regulatory standards and is safe for consumption. Using innovative technologies and methodologies, we comprehensively test water samples for various pollutants and impurities.
This allows us to identify water quality issues and offer our clients the information and help they need to address them. Contact Olympian Water Testing now to learn more about the various types of water tests we can help you carry out.