Contaminants You Should Test For
Below is a list of what we commonly test for based on the New York State Water Quality Standards for Individual Onsite Water Supply Systems (Appendix 75-C (PDF)), as part of our free water testing and education program.
If you are hire a company to test your water, you may want to consider testing for all of the items below at once, or call us at 366-2526 for guidance on what to test for first.
The contaminants/water characteristics to test for may vary depending on contaminate sources in an area and other local sampling data available.
Contaminants Commonly Tested For
|Contaminant||Standard*||Potential Health Effect|
|Arsenic||0.01 milligrams per liter (mg/l)/parts per million||Arsenic is a highly poisonous metal and may cause a potential health concern even when present at low levels; may leach into groundwater from granite deposits. May be found in run off from orchards, as well as waste from glass and electronics production; darkening of skin, appearance of small corns or warts on body, increased risk for certain cancers|
|Iron||0.3 mg/l||Aesthetic quality concerns; rusty color and staining of fixtures or clothes|
|Lead||0.015 mg/l||May occur naturally in certain geologic deposits. Lead may leach from plumbing solder used in homes with copper plumbing installed before 1985, as well as from some faucets and lead pipes. Exposure may cause brain, nerve and kidney damage, especially in children|
|Manganese||0.3 mg/l||Aesthetic quality concerns; black/brown staining of fixtures or clothes, bitter metallic taste|
|Nitrate||10 mg/l||May leach into water from agricultural operations or septic tank leakage; consumption of water high in nitrate by an infant may cause a lack of oxygen to the body's cells and tissues (“blue baby syndrome”)|
|Nitrite||1 mg/l||May leach into water from agricultural operations or septic tank leakage; consumption of water high in nitrite by an infant may cause a lack of oxygen to the body's cells and tissues (“blue baby syndrome”)|
|Sodium||No limit set||High blood pressure; water with more than 20 mg/l should not be consumed by individuals on a severely restrictive sodium diet; water with more than 270 mg/l should not be consumed individuals on a moderately restricted sodium diet|
|Total Coliform Bacteria||Any positive result is a health concern||Indicator of presence of potentially harmful bacteria; indicates source may be subject to contamination that may cause illness (e.g. gastrointestinal illness)|
Water Characteristics Tested For
|Water Characteristic||Standard*||Impact on Water Quality|
|Alkalinity||100 mg/l||Effects the ability of water to resist changes in pH; low alkalinity can be corrosive to water pipes; water with high alkalinity has a soda-like taste, can dry out skin and cause scaling on fixtures and water distribution systems|
|Hardness||150 mg/l||Aesthetic quality concerns; may cause mineral and soap deposits; detergents (soap) may be less effective|
|pH||pH 6.5-8.5||A measure of acidity or basically on a scale from 0-14. pH is sensitive to small changes in water chemistry and serve as a good preliminary indicator of changing water quality|
|Turbidity||5 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU)||Suspended matter such as clay, silt, and fine particles of organic and inorganic matter, plankton, and other microscopic organisms in water; water may appear discolored|
*Results will be compared to the New York State Water Quality Standards for Individual Onsite Water Supply Systems (Appendix 75-C).