Water Testing, Sampling, and Laboratory Services

Our samples are certified by an Independent Laboratory. We are Maryland Department of Environment certified samplers.

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We do offer FREE onsite water testing for physical & natural properties

Lab Sampling has a fee for each different type of testing.


Why should we test?

Testing should be an ongoing practice for use of private well water

There are three main reasons for getting your water tested:

1) Ensure Health and Safety by detecting and preventing water borne illnesses
2) Documentation of your water quality for real estate transactions or federal lending
3) To determine treatment (if needed) and reduce costs of buying bottled water or unnecessary/incorrect filtration

Who should test?
A accredited public or private laboratory.

A laboratory which is accredited by both the EPA and State environmental health agencies should always be your first choice. Some tests require proper procedures for collecting samples to ensure the accuracy of the results. Having a State Certified sampler will ensure accuracy and will certify the results for documentation. These samples must be taken on site following regulations for collection.

Testing?

All well water requires some form of treatment before it is consumed.

Most water issues can be treated with filtration and or sterilization. Unlike city water, private well water use is not regulated. Testing will address what treatment is needed. Without treatment, ground water should be periodically monitored to ensure it’s safety. Ground water quality can change seasonally with weather changes and or the demand on the aquifer.

What should we test for?

The following are common tests collected from well water to address health and safety concerns:

Total Coliform / Ecoli-Bacteria

The availability of bacteriological safe water is probably the most essential ingredient needed for good health. The Total Coliform test is used to indicate this.

Nitrate:
High concentrations of nitrates are common in agricultural areas and can be harmful to infants up to one year in age. Nitrates also may be an indicator of agricultural runoff, such as chemicals used for lawn and garden or crop control, which may be toxic to all users.

Lead:
Lead is thought to be responsible for permanent brain and nervous system damage in many children. Lead pipe, solder on plumbing, and some well pumps found in old homes, are usually the source of this pollutant.

Radon & Radium: Radon is an underground, radioactive gas given off by the natural breakdown of uranium and other radioactive metals. Radioactive metals are considered ‘soft’ metals, which makes them soluble in water, and thus they are able to pollute the ground water near them. Radium is one of these radioactive metals- also the byproduct of uranium’s natural breakdown.

 

Concerns for Health Results, Probable Causes, & Sources of Contamination
 Total Coliform Bacteria A positive result shows the presence of decomposing organics. If present this indicates the probability that pathogens can enter the human system for harmful growth.  The cause can be from surface contamination, contamination at the well, or intrusion from agriculture fertilizers or human waste.
 Fecal Coliform Bacteria These bacteria come from feces of humans and animals. If present there is a greater risk of pathogens. Contamination could be from septic or agriculture surface runoff.
 E. Coli A subgroup of fecal coliform bacteria that does indicate recent contamination of fecal outbreaks. A positive result indicates greater risk that pathogens are present.
 Lead Natural contamination is rare. Found in older home construction, lead was used in plumbing and solder. Acidic water can increase the intensity of contamination from corrosion of metals in the water. Lead contamination can be found in the well construction all the way to faucet.
 Nitrates / Nitrites High concentrations of nitrates can cause methemoglobinemia, which impairs the ability of the blood cells to carry oxygen through the body. Grave concerns are for pregnant women, infants, & elderly. Sources are most likely from agriculture fertilizers.
VOCs. (Volatile Organic Compounds) These results indicate petroleum’s, gases, pesticides and other chemical intrusion. Industrial or agricultural runoff can be the cause. Medical concerns are exposure to the body through consumption and absorption through the skin.
 MTBE A gasoline additive, which is a VOC, has specific health concerns. Source is from a fuel spill or gasoline plant runoff.
 Radon Natural radioactive breakdown from the geology within the ground.
Found in some ground water which is released as a gas in water vapor as steam.
 Copper, Mercury &
other Metals
Harmful levels if ingested, usually leaching with acidic water on metal plumbing & fixtures. Ground water contamination could be industrial.

Physical & Natural Properties Tested in Water
These results can be field tested on site:

 pH
(acidic water)
 A low pH of the water can be from rich nutrient soils and acidic rain. Water with a pH 6.5  or below is corrosive to metals in plumbing and appliances. Blue green stains and/or a  metallic taste in the water will be present from acidic water eating away at the copper  plumbing
 Hardness  Minerals in the water from limestone causes white stains on dishes and glassware. Build  up over time will reduce pressure in plumbing, effect efficiency of hot water heaters, and  dish washers. Soaps in hard water cannot lather to their potential creating soap scum  and hard water scale.
 Total Dissolved Solids
(TDS)
  High mineral levels can be harmful to ingest over time creating problems to the kidneys   and other organs. May effect taste in drinking and cooking. High salts will also corrode      metals. Source could be from road salt intrusion in the ground water.
 Iron  High levels will stain bathrooms, surfaces, and laundry. Cause from natural geology and  rich soils.
 Sulfur  A rotten egg smell in the water is caused from decaying organic matter. Often found in  bog or low coastal areas and usually along with iron issues or bacteria.
 Turbidity  Sediments, clays & sands from soils

fill out a contact form or call us 410-848-1025 to get set up for onsite laboratory testing & sampling

Service includes:

  • Inspection & consultation,
  • Sample pick up and delivery,
  • Certified report with interpretation,
  • Treatment Recommendations
  • Health Department reporting if requested

Contact Us Today!

Since 1992
Westminster, MD
410-848-1025

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