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The EPA indicates that certain conditions and activities may warrant having water tested

When to test water at your homeContaminated water supplies pose a significant threat to human health. According to the World Health Organization, contaminated water is linked to various diseases, including cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, and hepatitis A, among others. Sources of drinking water are subject to contamination, and many people may have no idea if their water is safe for consumption or what they should do to ensure it is.

The Environmental Protection Agency notes that many testing laboratories or services supply sample containers to individuals interested in having their water tested. But that leaves the question of when to test the water. The EPA indicates that certain conditions and activities may warrant having the water tested for the presence of various things that can make individuals sick.

• Condition: Recurrent gastrointestinal illness

• Recommended test: Coliform bacteria

• Condition: Household plumbing contains lead

• Recommended test: Pit, lead, copper

Condition: Scaly residues, soaps don't lather

• Recommended test: Hardness

• Condition: Water softener needed to treat hardness

• Recommended test: Manganese, iron

• Condition: Stained plumbing fixtures, laundry

• Recommended test: Iron, copper, manganese

• Condition: Foul taste or smell

• Recommended test: Hydrogen sulfide, corrosion, metals

• Condition: Cloudy, frothy or colored water

• Recommended test: Color, detergents

• Condition: Corrosion of pipes, plumbing

• Recommended test: Corrosion, pH, lead

• Condition: Rapid wear of water treatment equipment

• Recommended test: pH, corrosion

• Condition: Nearby areas of intensive agriculture

• Recommended test: Nitrate, pesticides, coliform bacteria

• Condition: Coal or other mining operation nearby

• Recommended test: Metals, pH, corrosion

• Condition: Odor of gas or fuel oil, and near gas station or buried fuel tanks

• Recommended test: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

• Condition: Salty taste and seawater, or a heavily salted roadway nearby

• Recommended test: Chloride, TDS, sodium

Various conditions can be indicative of a contaminated water supply. Individuals should not hesitate to have their water tested when such conditions arise.

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