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Ensuring Safe Drinking Water is a Collaborative Effort: Spotting Problems and Safeguarding your Home’s Drinking Water

Donald Wiggins Jr., June 26, 2017

The following is a list of tips and conditions to stay aware of to ensure that your home’s drinking water supply is safe. The list was developed and adapted from information on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website regarding testing wells to safeguard your water.

These tips should not be substituted for the advice of and consultation with a certified water quality expert.

If you have concerns regarding your water you should contact your public water utility or local health department. Your public water utility or local health department may be able to assist in testing your water supply and should be able to answer any questions or concerns you have about your home water supply’s safety.

Should you require or wish to test the quality of your water, use of a state certified water quality lab is recommended. A list of Ohio certified water quality labs, can be found here.

Potential Concerns That May Indicate The Need to Test Your Water and Applicable Test:

Potential signs of a problem What to test for
1. Household plumbing contains lead Lead, copper, pH
2. Corrosion of pipes, plumbing Lead, corrosion, pH
3. Staining plumbing fixtures Iron, copper, manganese
4. Objectionable taste or smell Hydrogen sulfide, corrosion, metals
5. Nearby intensive agriculture Nitrate, pesticides, coliform bacteria
6. Coal or other mining operations nearby Corrosion, metals, pH
7. Gas drilling operations nearby Chloride, sodium, barium, strontium
8. Odor of gasoline or fuel oil, and home located near a gas station or buried fuel tanks Volatile organic compounds
9. Dump, junkyard, landfill, factory, gas station or dry-cleaning operation nearby Volatile organic compounds, total dissolved solids, sulfate, chloride, metals, pH
10. Recurring gastrointestinal illness Coliform bacteria
11. Radon in indoor air or home located in radon rich area Radon
12. Water appears cloudy, frothy or colored Color, detergents
13. Rapid wear of water treatment equipment Corrosion, pH
14. Water softener needed to treat hardness Iron, manganese
15. Salty taste, or a heavily salted roadway nearby Chloride, sodium, total dissolved solids