Dripping water at a faucet (C) Daniel FriedmanMunicipal Water Test
sample parameters if testing a Municipal Water supply - home buyer advice

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City, municipal, or community water testing:

Should individuals bother to test such water supplies?

If so why, when, and what tests are typically performed?

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Private Tests of Community or Municipal Water Supply Quality or Potability or for Contaminants

Normally we would not test water in a property served by a municipal supply, as federal, state, or other regulations require thorough and frequent testing that is more extensive than a private individual is likely to employ.

However for small water systems such as those serving a limited number of homes, and particularly where the water supply system is being privately managed by a local firm or by a local property manager, some screening tests may be appropriate.

This would be particularly true if a review of the history of local testing and water sanitation by the local provider raises questions about the accuracy and thoroughness of the water management company. Be sure to review actual parameters with your home inspector or laboratory: parameters and costs vary.

The water test parameters listed below are typical state testing requirements for municipal water supply testing. Be sure to review actual parameters with your home inspector or laboratory: parameters and costs vary.

Municipal Water Test Paramaters

Water Analysis Paramaters for Municipal Water Supply Systems
Total Coliform
Fecal/E. Coli
Total Dissolved Solids

Reasons for Additional Testing of Municipal Water Supplies for Contaminants

Presuming you're in the U.S., federal regulations require very extensive and regular testing of the public water supply.

But there could be an in-building contaminant source from piping, or from a source such as legionnaire's bacteria growth in a hot water tank or other bacterial contamination in a pressure tank or piping. Water conditioner can also be a contaminant reservoirs.

You may want to clean such tanks or treatment equipment and disinfect it as a precautionary measure, then wait 2 weeks or longer (to allow any bacteria to regenerate), then perform at a minimum a bacteria test recommended by your local water test lab.

Discuss with the lab including Giardia testing in your bacteria test result. for an unknown building & situation no one can safely tell you to ignore any concern you express, but finding Giardia in a public water supply would normally be a surprise. But indeed such water quality issues are not just imaginary, as you can read in the following research citations:

Watch out: bactrial contaminants and other contaminants can enter the human body by more means than just drinking water, such as by foods. See Millard (1994) cited below for an example.

Question: advice on testing water in New York City

Rooftop water towers in New York City (C) Daniel FriedmanI have a friend suffering from ongoing, unexplained medical problems. Her doctors have offered no clear diagnosis, but some of her symptoms have made me suspect the water quality in her apartment building.

She can't afford to pay for testing but I would be happy to on her behalf. Can you recommend a reliable company that provides such a service to Manhattan residents at a reasonable cost? - Anonymous by private email 2017/07/17


Any water test lab in NYC (closer to your friend's address is probably less expensive) can either accept a test sample that you collect using sterile bottle(S) they'll give you, or can send someone to collect sample(s).

I do not have a specific water test lab recommendation - except to be sure that you use a lab who is specifically licensed by the NYS Health Department (some out of state labs offer services but are not licensed)

The cost of water testing is quite modest when testing simply for the presence of coliform - a standard private well test - but can soar if you start ordering clusters of test.

Municipal water testing tip: So also get advice from the lab about what sorts of contaminants they have been finding in New York City water so that you have that additional test advice.

New York City's water quality is among the highest among municipalities and would not normally be suspect.

Total coliform test with negative result  - not detected (C) Daniel FriedmanBut local building piping or contamination in the building's hot water supply could result in water that is contaminated.

There is no single test for all possible contaminants so it would make sense to have a reason to be looking for something specific, such as lead (from lead supply pipes or lead soldered-copper pipe joints), or bacteria if a water storage tank (many NYC buildings use a rooftop storage tank to develop building water pressure) is contaminated, or bacteria if hot water supply is contaminated. Legionella could be in the hot water supply or in A/C system condensate.

Water testing tip: It would also make sense to ask your friend's doctor for an opinion about what, if anything, could be in water that could explain, cause, or aggravate the person's illness.

Research on Contaminant in Public Water Supply


Continue reading at CHLORINE IN DRINKING WATER or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see WATER TESTING ADVICE for home buyers and building owners: water contaminants, water test procedures, well shock procedures, preventing drinking water contamination




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MUNICIPAL WATER TEST PARAMETERS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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