InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
Well water testing guidelines for home buyers and home owners.
How to collect a water test sample for well potability tests / bacteria tests. In most countries the state or province licenses water testing laboratories; the lab processing of a water test sample must be processed by a state certified testing laboratory. Using New York state in the U.S. as an example, the NYS Departmentof Health maintains an active lab list, and as well, your local water test labs will be glad to confirm that their certification is active, as if not they could not legally work in the state.
Some water testing laboratories also provide water sample collection services using their own employees, but all of the labs we have spoken with also are happy to accept third-party-collected samples.
How to Conduct A Well Water or Drinking Water Test
Using New York as an example, New York State home inspectors must be licensed by the state - a credential which provides an assurance of some mimimal or ground floor level of expertise and ethical conduct.
That license does not address water testing nor other environmental inspections or tests.
New York State licenses water testing laboratories; the lab processing of a water test sample must be processed by a state certified testing laboratory; the NYS DOH maintains an active lab list, and as well, your local water test labs will be glad to confirm that their certification is active, as if not they could not legally work in the state.
Some water testing laboratories also provide water sample collection services using their own employees, but all of the labs I've spoken with also are happy to accept third-party-collected samples.
Home owners, building occupants, and home inspectors as well as others are permitted to collect a water test sample, just as is any property homeowner.
The sample must be collected using containers and using a procedure specified by the water test lab who is going to process the sample; those requirements vary depending on the water test package selected; there may also be delivery time constraints, such as a maximum number of hours between sample collection and the time of delivery to the lab; those times also vary by test.
Water Test Procedure Example: Coliform Test = Bacteria Test = Potability Test for Drinking Water
A P/A test is a simple "present or absent" test for an unacceptable level of coliform bacteria in drinking water. This is one of the simplest tests performed, but it requires at least a sterile container of appropriate size, usually provided by the water test lab. Some water test collection bottles from some labs may also contain a chemical or preservative.
To conduct a basic coliform bacteria P/A test the tester who wants honest, representative results will follow instructions from the water test lab if they vary from the steps I give below, but should also address all of the concerns addressed by this procedure.
Select an appropriate test location to draw water; most use the kitchen sink, presuming that that's where people are most likely to draw drinking water and because that faucet is usually active; taking a water sample from a rarely-used faucet increases the chance of skewing the test by local contaminants at the faucet.
Remove the faucet strainer so as to avoid the effects of bacteria or debris therein, without sticking a dirty finger up into the faucet opening;
Do not bother with voo-doo impress-the-client junk science such as waving a cigarette lighter or match under the faucet. The "sterilization" effect by such a step is nil. A match or lighter is not going to get a sink faucet hot enough to sterilize anything; all you are accomplishing is sooting up the faucet.
Run enough water before collecting the sample to be sure that water being tested is collected from the water source, not just what may have been sitting in a water pressure tank or pipe system
Collect the required sample in an appropriate lab-provided container, without sticking a dirty finger inside the container nor inside its cap;
Record appropriate information: test consultant, client, date, time, property owner name, property location, collection point, observations of site conditions that may affect the results (Horse barn manure runoff running into the well-pit, for example).
Typically water test labs provide a water test documenation form that specifies the information required by the laboratory.
Deliver the sample to a certified test lab within the requisite period (typically 24 hours)
Provide the lab report as well a syour own site observations to the client (if you are not the end client yourself). The water test lab report will indicate the test performed and the results, including an indication of whether or not the test results meet the state requirements for safe drinking water.
If you are an independent test consultant or home inspector, just as with a home inspection report, the water test results must go to the client, not to other parties with conflicting interests.
However in my OPINION, in this case as in any other in which a building professional at a site observes conditions that in his/her opinion could or are likely to put the present site occupants at risk has a moral and ethical obligation to let such people know immediately.
The water test collecting consulant consultant may arrange for the report to be mailed directly to the client but should also receive a copy. An independent inspector who collects a water test or other environmental sample should also be prepared to assist the client in understanding and responding to the test results, answering questions about what the test results mean to the client or to the building occupants.
A water test consultant who does not include this level of service is not providing a useful, professional level of service.
Watch out: I have ONLY described a general procedure for one specific test: a coliform P/A test (PA - Coliform Bacteria Test), and even for that test the laboratory may have different procedural details that the test consultant must follow. And test procedures for conducting other types of water tests are definitely different from what I described above.
Continue reading at WATER TEST PROCEDURAL ERRORS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Questions & answers or comments about well water testing when buying, maintaining, or selling a home.
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Smart Tank, Installation Instructions [ copy on file as /water/Smart_Tank_Flexcon.pdf ] - , Flexcon Industries, 300 Pond St., Randolph MA 02368, www.flexconind.com, Tel: 800-527-0030 - web search 07/24/2010, original source: http://www.flexconind.com/pdf/st_install.pdf
Typical Shallow Well One Line Jet Pump Installation [ copy on file as /water/Jet_Pump_Grove_Elect_Jet_Pumps.pdf ] - , Grove Electric, G&G Electric & Plumbing, 1900 NE 78th St., Suite 101, Vancouver WA 98665 www.grovelectric.com - web search -7/15/2010 original source: http://www.groverelectric.com/howto/38_Typical%20Jet%20Pump%20Installation.pdf
Typical Deep Well Two Line Jet Pump Installation [ copy on file as /water/Jet_Pump_Grove_Elect.pdf ] - , Grove Electric, G&G Electric & Plumbing, 1900 NE 78th St., Suite 101, Vancouver WA 98665 www.grovelectric.com - web search -7/15/2010 original source: http://www.groverelectric.com/howto/38_Typical%20Jet%20Pump%20Installation.pdf
Water Fact Sheet #3, Using Low-Yielding Wells [ copy on file as /water/Low_Yield_Wells_Penn_State.pdf ] - , Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Cooperative Extension, School of Forest Resources, web search 07/24/2010, original source: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/XH0002.pdf
Crystal Clear Supply provides portable ceramic water filter purifiers and portable reverse osmosis water treatment equipment - see http://www.crystalclearsupply.com/category_s/7.htm
Handbook of Disinfectants and Antiseptics, Joseph M. Ascenzi (Editor), CRC, 1995, ISBN-10: 0824795245 ISBN-13: 978-0824795245 "The evaluation of chemical germicides predates the golden age of microbiology..." -
This well-focused, up-to-date reference details the current medical uses of antiseptics and disinfectants -- particularly in the control of hospital-acquired infections -- presenting methods for evaluating products to obtain regulatory approval and examining chemical, physical, and microbiological properties as well as the toxicology of the most widely used commercial chemicals.
Potable Aqua® emergency drinking water germicidal tablets are produced by the Wisconsin Pharmacal Co., Jackson WI 53037. 800-558-6614 pharmacalway.com
When Technology Fails, Matthew Stein, Chelsea Green Publisher, 2008,493 pages. ISBN-10: 1933392452 ISBN-13: 978-1933392455, "... how to find and sterilize water in the face of utility failure, as well as practical information for dealing with water-quality issues even when the public tap water is still flowing". Mr. Stein's website is www.whentechfails.com/
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones