Practical And Immediate Solutions To The Growing Need For Clean Water Testing

Drinking water testing labs: accreditation and licensing

The rules

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, labs must be accredited and licensed to test drinking water.

the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks:

licenses laboratories

inspects laboratories

ensures that laboratories comply with laws and rules around drinking water testing

A drinking water testing licence authorizes a laboratory to carry out analysis for specific drinking water tests by approved analytical techniques.

If you are accredited to certain international standards, you can apply for a licence to test drinking water. The licence allows you to test drinking water for the parameters specified on your drinking water testing licence.

You will be granted a licence for at least one of the following parameter “classes”:


organic chemical



inorganic chemical

The drinking water testing licence is valid for up to five years and an annual licensing fee applies. The drinking water testing licence indicates which parameters and methods a laboratory is licensed for under a specific class.

Laboratories must publicly display the drinking water testing wall certificate at the laboratory, so that clients know what classes a laboratory is licensed to perform. A copy of the laboratory’s drinking water testing licence should also be available upon request.


Water quality testing systems

Universal access to safe and affordable drinking water is still a challenge. In remote areas, E. coli is a common contaminant, and timely, accurate and reliable water quality data is hard to come by.

Solutions is a non-profit organisation working to find innovative ways of reducing poverty. In 2018, received a grant to perform E. coli tests using innovative technologies. Using water quality testing solution, an experiment was conducted on the drinking water

The challenge

Water quality testing in remote areas is a challenge. Usually, it’s done by collecting a limited number of water samples and transporting them to laboratories. The time required to perform and complete the tests, as well as the transport and laboratory costs, results in high costs per test and questionable data quality. Samples may get altered in transit and results are not timely, which can lead to interventions based on inaccurate data.

The partnership

wanted to find an alternative solution to lab testing for E. coli contamination in remote areas. joined forces to conduct an experiment using water quality testing system. With data platform and hardware, instant field tests are connected to a mobile-phone based data collection application and real-time decision making dashboards.

The change

The results revealed that between 80% and 83% of the time, the results from water quality testing system matched the laboratory test results for E. coli in drinking water. The system also reduced the amount of time it took to perform 1000 tests by 67%, providing timely insights for immediate decision making.



Drinking Water Standards are the government issued regulatory requirements for the consumption of drinking water.

Drinking water quality will vary greatly depending on rainfall run-off and the land use of the surrounding catchment. It is always advisable to check whether your drinking water meets the requirements of the Drinking Water Standards. This is especially important as water quality is largely impacted by the local environment and can be impacted by contaminants such as nitrates and E. coli.

Groundwater that is low in pH can attack copper piping leading to high levels of dissolved copper.

Important for ion balance check and other parameter estimation. Used to calculate TDS.

Bores close to the ocean can have elevated levels. Water from limestone aquifers can also be high in TDS.

Important for interpretation and other parameter estimation.

High hardness may cause scale deposition and scum formation. Water with low hardness (<100) may be more corrosive.

Important nutrient indicative of fertiliser application and other anthropogenic inputs, health concern (can cause methaemoglobinaemia in bottle fed infants)


Water Testing

Testing Your Well Water

Safe drinking water is important to your health, but how can you tell if your well provides safe water? Public water systems are tested regularly, but if you have a private well, regular testing is up to you. To assure safe drinking water

Department of Health recommends the following:

First, make sure that your well is located, maintained, and constructed properly

Test your water anytime your well is serviced, or you notice a change in taste, color or odor

Regular water testing should be conducted as follows.

For Nitrates & Manganese, always test before giving to an infant and anyone in your house that becomes pregnant.  Testing is even more important if young children drink the water (Safe Drinking Water For Your Baby).

Depending on where you live may also be a factor to consider when testing your water. For example, manganese is a naturally occurring element found in drinking water across, and has recently been found to cause neurological problems, especially in infants over time. For more information on manganese


Water Testing

How much will the water test cost?

Effective February 1, 2017, the following fees apply:

$12.80 for nitrates

$14.40 for coliform

$13 for arsenic

$13 for lead

$13 for manganese

What water tests are required when selling your home?

Coliform Bacteria and nitrates are the two most common tests done to determine if the water is safe for human consumption. Their presence indicates the water has been contaminated, or is being contaminated, from an organic source, and it may be contaminated with some disease causing organisms or substances. Other tests like lead or arsenic can also be required by a lending agency.

Property Owners Can Now Benefit From A Mold Remediation

Non-toxic Ways to Clean Mold with Natural Cleaners

Mold may be growing in your home and you don’t even know it, that’s because mold loves dark, warm, humid places to live. Your basement, kitchen and bathroom are at the most risk for mold and bacteria growth because they are in constant contact with moisture. When the conditions are right, mold can grow within 24-48 hours. Leaving mold untreated can cause respiratory illnesses as well as be a major factor for year-round allergies. This is why it is so important to kill mold at first sight.

You’ll need the following cleaning supplies:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Scrub brush
  • Rubber gloves to protect your hands
  • Vinegar
  • Spray bottle

Here are 3 household solutions for cleaning mold:

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial solution that kills mold effectively on a variety of materials such as kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, floors and walls. To kill mold: Pour 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Saturate the moldy surface completely and leave it to sit for 10 minutes. Next, scrub the area to remove all of the mold and mold stains. And finally, wipe the surface down to remove residual mold and spores.

VinegarVinegar is a mild acid which can kill 82% of mold species. (Baking soda is often used along with vinegar for killing different species of mold).

To kill mold: Use white distilled vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle without watering it down. Spray the vinegar onto the moldy surface and leave it to sit for an hour. Finally, wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours.

Baking SodaBaking soda is a mild, white mineral powder, that can be used to kill mold in your home, plus it is safe for your family and pets. Besides killing mold, it will absorb moisture to help keep mold away.

To kill mold: Add one quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water and shake until it has dissolved. Spray the moldy area with the baking soda and water solution, then use a scrub brush to remove all the mold from the surface. Next, rinse the surface with water to remove any residual mold on the surface.


Cleaning Mold with Vinegar

White distilled vinegar is effective for killing small amounts of mold.  It can kill over 80 percent of mold species commonly found in your home and as a mild acid, it can help prevent mold as well as remove it.  Make sure you follow these steps when cleaning mold with vinegar:

  • Protect yourself from exposure to the mold by wearing protective gear such as gloves and a mask.
  • Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle but do not dilute it. Diluting the vinegar will reduce its effectiveness.
  • Spray the moldy areas and let the vinegar sit for an hour so that the mold can absorb it completely.
  • If you need to scrub the mold, do so with a baking soda solution. Pour 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a spray bottle and shake well.
  • Spray the moldy area with the baking soda mixture and use a scrubbing brush or scouring pad to scrub the mold. Wearing protective gloves will protect you from direct contact.
  • Use clean, warm water to rinse the area.
  • Spray the vinegar again over the area and let it dry naturally to make sure all the mold has been killed.


Removing Mold From Interior Walls, Flooring, and Carpet

If the mold is fuzzy and black, it may be much worse than just unsightly. The area should be opened to check for structural damage. Wear safety glasses and respiratory protection. All building materials should be bagged in heavy-duty plastic bags and disposed of properly. Allow the area to dry out thoroughly and make any needed repairs.

To clean porous surfaces like wood and drywall, a detergent should be added to the bleach and water solution to help it adhere. Mix one part dishwashing detergent, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts water. Apply with a sponge or mop, trying not to over-saturate the surfaces. Do not rinse away, and allow the solution to air dry.

Carpet with mold or a musty smell should be removed completely. Wearing a respirator, cut the carpet and pad into small sections. Mist the materials and underflooring with water to help prevent the spread of airborne mold spores. Wrap the carpet in heavy plastic for disposal. Use a wet/dry vacuum to thoroughly clean the area and allow to air dry for several days before replacing flooring.


Preventing Mold from Returning

Spray vinegar and leave it to help prevent future mold growth.

You do not have to wash the vinegar away. Once the surface is clean, you can spray it with vinegar and leave the vinegar on the surface to keep the mold from returning.

  • Keep a spray bottle of vinegar in your shower and spray the surface every few days.
  • Mop your floors with vinegar to prevent mold growth in damp areas.

Fix leaks in your home.

Leaks can occur in your roof, your plumbing and seep in through your window. Clean any spills and address these problems to keep you home dry and free of mold.

  • Check your roof for leaks and replace the roof or fix an area which may be allowing the damp weather into your home.
  • Fix any plumbing issues as soon as they happen to prevent water from dripping and spilling.
  • Check the seals of your windows and replace any which are allowing dampness to get through.

Control the level of humidity in the area of mold growth.

You may need to invest in a dehumidifier if you live in a humid area or have a part of your home which lacks ventilation and tends to be damp and attract mold.

Ventilate areas which can become damp.

Mold thrives in damp, dark places. Allow air and sunlight into damp spaces as much as possible in order to control mold. Turn on fans when you are cooking, showering, or doing laundry.

  • The kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room should be equipped with ventilation systems.

Clean your air conditioner regularly.

Air conditioners contain drip pans, which gather excess water. Empty and clean this pan regularly to keep mold from forming and blowing into your home.

  • Cut power to the air conditioner before you clean the drain pan.
  • It is easiest to remove the water with a wet/dry vacuum to avoid spilling.
  • Once you have removed the water, scrub away any debris or mold which may have formed in the pan before you return it.


Fabric and Upholstery

Before you give up on any fabric that has fallen victim to mold growth, try the following procedure, which may allow you to salvage the item after all.

First, take the moldy item outdoors so that its mold spores cannot spread throughout your home. Next, use a stiff-bristled brush to clear away as much mold as you possibly can. Now pretreat the item with either bleach (white fabrics only) or a store-bought stain remover designated for use on the type of material in question. Finally, wash the fabric in hot water. When you take the item out of the wash, check it carefully for signs of lingering mold. More than one round of pretreating and washing may be necessary.

Use Water Testing To Make Sure Your Water

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) recommends well owners test their water at least annually for bacteria, nitrates, and any contaminants of local concern. More frequent testing should be considered if.

There is a change in the taste, odor, or appearance of the well water, or if a problem occurs such as a broken well cap, inundation by floodwaters, or a new contamination source

The well has a history of bacterial contamination

The septic system has recently malfunctioned

Family members or house guests have recurrent incidents of gastrointestinal illness

An infant is living in the home, or

To monitor the efficiency and performance of home water treatment equipment.

Check with your local health or environmental health department for recommendations regarding the type and frequency of testing specific to your location. For help in interpreting your water test results—and what might be a health risk or an aesthetic issue—ask the lab that conducted the test or your county health department.

Total coliform is the most commonly used indicator of bacterial contamination. The presence of coliform bacteria is an “indicator” of a well’s possible contamination from human or animal wastes. Total coliform are a broad category of bacteria, most of which pose no threat to humans. Some come from fecal matter; others naturally occur in soils, vegetation, insects, etc. The presence of coliform bacteria in well water can be a harbinger of worsening water quality. In some cases, more specific tests for fecal contamination, such as E.coli, may be used.




Testing your private well’s water quality on a regular basis is an important part of maintaining a safe and reliable source. The test results allow you to properly address the specific problems of a water supply. This will help ensure that the water source is being properly protected from potential contamination, and that appropriate treatment is selected and operating properly.

It is important to test the suitability of your water quality for its intended use, whether it be livestock watering, chemical spraying, or drinking water. This will assist you in making informed decisions about your water and how you use it.


The only way to tell if your drinking water is safe is by having it tested at a certified laboratory. Harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses are invisible to the naked eye, so water which looks and tastes good may not necessarily be safe to drink. These microbes can exist in surface and groundwater supplies, and can cause immediate sickness in humans if not properly treated.

Certain chemical contaminants that are sometimes found in a water source can cause long term health problems that take years to develop. Frequent water testing will identify unsafe water and ensure that the treatment system is treating the water to a satisfactory level.


Useful tests are available to help determine the health and safety of a water supply, and the performance of a water treatment system. Your local health department can assist in selecting tests important for assessing your drinking water.


How Can I Test My Water at Home with a Water Test Kit?

What is a home water test kit?

Home water test kits come in a variety of methods, styles, and shapes. They include simple test strips that you dunk in the water and swirl around for a few seconds and then compare the test strip colors to the colors on the side of the bottle. Test kits also include chemical titration tests that work for hardness and iron, a photometer, or a TDS electronic handheld meter that test for total dissolved solids (TDS) and pH or ORP (oxidation reduction potential)

What do home water test kits test for?

Water tests test inorganics like iron, hardness minerals, and total dissolved solids (TDS), or specific contaminants like lead, nitrates, or arsenic. Since bacteria tests are limited, just test for coliform. Finding out if your water contains coliform is important because reveals bacteria and warns that your water could contain something more specific or more dangerous or harmful like e. Coli. If a bacteria test shows positive for coliform, then use a handheld UV light to further test for e. Coli. Photometers have a litany of different testing capabilities. They can test for cyanide, copper, lead, and many other contaminants. But there are some contaminants that home water test kit won’t find, like cryptosporidium.

What are the different options for home water testing?

There are a variety of options using different methods, but many tests are fairly specific to what you want to find out. For example, if you want to make sure that your water softener is working, water hardness test strips would be ideal. If you’re concerned contaminants like nitrates or arsenic, then you need more specific testing. For example, an arsenic kit includes several phases of sampling water and adding different compounds in it to create a gas in the sample bottle, which then interacts with a test strip.

Do home water test kits test for water hardness?

Yes, they do. We offer different types of hardness tests. One is a test strip that shows you a range and tells you whether your water is soft or not. If you want to test your city water, a test strip will give you a range of hardness. A titration test, where you drop chemicals into a test bottle, gives a more accurate measure of grains per gallon. If you’re setting up or maintaining equipment and want to make sure you’ve done it properly, we recommend that you use the titration test. This chemical test will give you accurate results to help you know you’ve set your equipment up properly.


Drinking Water Testing Kits – Testing Evaluation Program

Environmental Education and Outreach – Drinking water testing and analysis services provided by a National Testing Laboratories, other laboratories,  or certified/licensed professionals.  The residential drinking water testing program includes analysis for common water quality problems, microbiological contamination, and makes recommendations regarding the potential need for water treatment devices, such as: softeners, reverse osmosis units, distillation, neutralizers, chlorination systems, ultraviolet or UV systems. As part of the Water Research Center continuing efforts of environmental education for customers of public water supplies and private water systems, he have offer information on drinking water testing, private well owner education, assistance with explaning water testing results, review water treatment options, and ways to self-screen the quality of your drinking water.

The Basic Water Chemistry Package for drinking water and Bacterial Testing – You will be linked to a different web page – then navigate to Product List and Find the Code Sighted in the Link.

This is a quick test for the presence or absence of Coliform and E. Coli Bacteria in your drinking water or well water. Coliform is an indicator bacteria that public water supplies are required to monitor. The presence of Coliform could indicate the presence of other infection disease causing organisms. If Coliform is present, then we look for E. Coli. which is a known pathogen.

The dual lead test will test for the lead contect in the water and includes sample containers and testing for a “first draw” and a “flushed” sample is perfect for public water systems or private water sources were you suspect corrosion or high levels of copper and lead may be impacting your drinking water (order).

This testing package covers 22 heavy metals and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, lead, arsenic, and mercury in your city or well drinking water. Additionally, analyzes other inorganic compounds and physical characteristics including nitrate, nitrite, chloride, fluoride, sulfate, alkalinity, pH and hardness.


How to test your tap water for lead

Home Testing

Our second round used a “First Alert” home test (sold online and in many hardware stores) that promised to detect not only lead, but also bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, chlorine, hardness, and pH. If you have lead pipes, acidic water can cause the lead to leach out. That’s essentially what happened in Flint. Because water managers failed to add an anti-corrosive agent (as a cost-cutting measure), water from the Flint River ate away at the pipes and pulled lead into the drinking supply.

Tap Score

Of the three tests that we took, Tap Score was the easiest. It also had the most comprehensive results, including measurements for things like copper (which only makes you sick at very high levels, but can kill your goldfish at a much lower threshold), hexachlorobutadiene (which can affect the kidneys), and isopropylbenzene (which may increase risk of cancer). But Billy did not dig the delayed gratification.

Should I test my water for lead?

If you’re at all uncertain of your water’s safety—and you live in New York State—nabbing a free testing kit is a no-brainer. If your state doesn’t offer testing for free, consider investing in a $15 kit to ease your mind. The redundancies between our three results certainly suggest that all of the options we tried are fairly accurate, so if spending 100-200 dollars on a testing kit sounds like overkill, it probably is. But if you live in a town where municipal testing is infrequent—or if you get your water from a well you’ve never tested—it might be worth upgrading to a test that’s as comprehensive and user-friendly as Tap Score.