Does your tap water flow from the city instead of a private well? While the vast majority of municipal, or public drinking water supplies are safe and reliable, accidents do happen.
Here are some tips on how to tell if your water is safe.
Use Your Senses
While you probably can’t “feel” if your drinking water is safe to use, your other senses won’t let you down. Fill up a clean, clear glass with water from the tap – does it look, taste, or smell funny? Cloudy water can point to sedimentation or chemical/microbial contamination. Water that tastes or smells like chlorine may come from your city’s water treatment process.
In the spring, many municipalities perform an annual temporary water disinfection changeover, which involves suspending ammonia additions to the treatment process (a chlorine/ammonia solution is called “chloramine”) in favor of stronger pure chlorine disinfection – a process also known as “burn out.” The water remains safe to drink during this time, but customers often report a more noticeable chlorine taste and smell in their drinking water. Speaking of smells, if you ever notice that distinctive rotten egg odor, it often comes from hydrogen sulfide.
And what about your ears? Although you can’t hear what’s happening in that glass of water, if your plumbing pipes creak, groan, or make other strange noises when you turn on the faucet, that may mean there’s something wrong with the system. Plumbing problems can lead to eventual water contamination, and you’ll want to have those sounds inspected by a licensed plumber.
Remember – not all water warning signs are so easy to see, taste or smell. Some of the most dangerous contaminants, including lead, arsenic, e. coli, and viruses, have no flavor or odor. Therefore, it never hurts to make it a habit to have your municipal water tested by a third-party expert at least once a year.
The Testing Process, Explained
When it comes to testing tap water, people have several options. City water customers can contact their local utility provider and request a test. The local municipality may send over an employee to collect samples or instruct the customer on how to collect a viable sample on his or her own. Likewise, your county health department often provides free water testing, especially for households with young children, pregnant, and/or nursing mothers at home.
If you are concerned about a specific contaminant in your water supply, you can also contact a third-party professional tester like c and j water. We will come out to your home, collect the necessary water samples, and have them tested by a State and EPA-certified laboratory. If results are positive for impurities in your water, our team can guide you on what to do next. We also sell, install, and service a variety of high-tech and high-efficiency water treatment solutions.
You shouldn’t have to worry when you turn on the faucet. If you suspect your city’s public water supply may be unsafe, don’t risk drinking it—please contact your local water provider and c and j water immediately.