Water Quality Testing

hand with rubber glove holding a beaker with liquid in a lab
Water test

Ensure You Get the Water Test That’s Right for You

At Harmony Home Inspection of MA, we understand that not every water test is necessary for every situation.

Let us guide you through the issues that need to be considered when you’re looking at well water testing.

  • Well construction
  • Known environmental influences
  • Pre-sale conditions

The list below is designed to give you an overall idea of what issues need to be considered. You also should consult with your local health department or a qualified environmental scientist before you decide which test is most appropriate.

The test descriptions are specific to the water testing laboratory used by us here at Harmony Home Inspection of MA and may not reflect names used by other labs.

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Water test

 

Standard Scan

This test includes total coliform bacteria, fecal/e. coli, lead, sodium, potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, calcium, arsenic, ph, turbidity, color, odor, conductivity, total dissolved solids (tds), sediment, alkalinity, chlorine, chloride, hardness, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, sulfate.

The standard scan was sufficient in the old days when there were very few problems with groundwater pollution. Nowadays it should only be used in very remote areas where there are no documented problems with industrial pollutants and radon gas.

Our owner’s professional opinion as an environmental scientist is that this scan should only be used to check specific parameters with respect to water treatment efficiency and not as a comprehensive indication of water quality.

Comprehensive Scan

This test includes total coliform bacteria, lead, nitrate, nitrite, radon, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, chloride, chlorine, color, hardness, ph, total dissolved solids, sulfate, ammonia plus: fecal/e. coli, alkalinity, odor, conductivity, sediment, turbidity, arsenic and 61 volatile organic compounds.

This scan tests for 61 volatile organic compounds (including MTBE), as well as the common causes of unhealthy and low-quality water.

For deep wells, this is the minimum and most common testing scheme we recommend for determining general water quality in today’s world.

Health Scan

This test includes total coliform bacteria, lead, nitrate, nitrite, radon, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, chloride, chlorine, color, hardness, ph, total dissolved solids, sulfate, ammonia plus: fecal/e. coli, alkalinity, odor, conductivity, sediment, turbidity, arsenic and 61 volatile organic compounds. Identification of microorganisms to the genus and species level.

This test is the above comprehensive scan plus additional analyses for microorganisms other than coliform bacteria.

Choose this test if you have an inland shallow or dug well, which are more susceptible to surface contamination than deep wells. Shallow wells are more susceptible to microorganisms such as giardia lamblia or Cryptosporidium, which are protozoal parasites that can cause health problems.

Also, choose this test if there are known problems with respect to bacterial contamination or with a sulfur smell in a deep well.

Comprehensive Plus Pesticides

This test includes total coliform, fecal/e. coli, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, alkalinity, chloride, chlorine, color, conductivity, hardness, nitrate, nitrite, odor, ph, sediment, total dissolved solids, sulfate, turbidity, arsenic, lead, ammonia, radon, 61 volatile organics compounds (including mtbe) plus the following pesticides: aldrin, a-bhc, b-bhc, d-bhc, g-bhc, chlordane, 4,4′-ddd, 4,4′-dde, 4,4′-ddt, dieldrin, endosulfan i, endosulfan sulfate, endrin, endrin aldehyde, heptachlor, heptachlor epoxide, methoxychlor, toxaphene.

The test includes everything in the Comprehensive Scan and adds 17 pesticides to the analysis.

We recommend this test if you have a house with an inland deep well that is located near a farm or was built on an old farm or fruit orchard. Also recommended if inappropriate use of pesticides in the surrounding neighborhood is suspected.

Health Scan Plus Pesticides

This test includes total coliform bacteria, lead, nitrate, nitrite, radon, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, chloride, chlorine, color, hardness, ph, total dissolved solids, sulfate, ammonia plus: fecal/e. coli, alkalinity, odor, conductivity, sediment, turbidity, arsenic and 61 volatile organic compounds compounds (including mtbe) plus the following pesticides: aldrin, a-bhc, b-bhc, d-bhc, g-bhc, chlordane, 4,4′-ddd, 4,4′-dde, 4,4′-ddt, dieldrin, endosulfan i, endosulfan sulfate, endrin, endrin aldehyde, heptachlor, heptachlor epoxide, methoxychlor, toxaphene. Identification of microorganisms to the genus and species level.

The test includes everything in the Health Scan and adds 17 pesticides to the analysis.

We recommend this test if you have a house with a shallow or dug well that is located near a farm or was built on an old farm or orchard or is nearby a recreational lake and may be drawing water from the lake via underground formations.

Total Environmental Scan

This very inclusive test targets total coliform, fecal/e. coli bacteria, lead, nitrate, nitrite, radon, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, chloride, chlorine, color, hardness, ph, total dissolved solids, sulfate, ammonia, alkalinity, odor, conductivity, sediment, turbidity, arsenic and 61 volatile organic compounds (including mtbe) as well as a standard plate count (spc), fluoride, tannins, 3 herbicides and 19 pesticides including pcb’s, the heavy metals antimony, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver, thallium and zinc, as well as total petroleum hydrocarbons (tph), methylene blue active substances (mbas), hydrogen sulfide, o-phosphorus and t-phosphorus.

Consider this test if you’re concerned about industrial / agricultural pollution from either a nearby industry, a landfill, or a dump. Unauthorized dumping anytime in the past can pollute your water.

Advanced Environmental Health Scan

This test targets total coliform, fecal/e. coli bacteria, lead, nitrate, nitrite, radon, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, chloride, chlorine, color, hardness, ph, total dissolved solids, sulfate, ammonia, alkalinity, odor, conductivity, sediment, turbidity, arsenic and 61 volatile organic compounds (including mtbe) as well as a standard plate count (spc), fluoride, tannins, 3 herbicides and 19 pesticides including pcb’s, the heavy metals antimony, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver, thallium and zinc, as well as total petroleum hydrocarbons (tph), methylene blue active substances (mbas), hydrogen sulfide, o-phosphorus and t-phosphorus.

This is one of the most thorough water quality scans available today. The scan includes a microanalysis and analysis for semi-volatile organic compounds.

Consider this test if you’re concerned about industrial / agricultural pollution from either a nearby industry, a landfill, or a dump. Unauthorized dumping anytime in the past can pollute your water.