Public Water Systems
What type of health issues can be related to water quality?
The presence of certain contaminants in our water can lead to health issues, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons may be especially at risk for becoming ill after drinking contaminated water. For example, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Federal law requires that systems reduce certain contaminants to set levels, in order to protect human health.
How do contaminants (germs and chemicals) get into my drinking water?
There can be many sources of contamination of our water systems. Here is a list of the most common sources of contaminants:
- Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
- Local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated animal feeding operations)
- Manufacturing processes
- Sewer overflows
- Malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems (for example, nearby septic systems)
Many contaminants that pose known human health risks are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA makes sure that water meets certain standards, so you can be sure that high levels of contaminants are not in your water.
The Complete Guide to Pool Water Testing
Pool Water Testing is Essential to Pool Health
If you don’t test your pool water, how do you know what the chemical levels are? Or what undesirable substances are in it? Or how much and what chemicals to put into the water to create a clean and safe swimming environment?The answer is, you don’t. You absolutely must learn how to test pool water, and then do so on a regular basis. In fact, out of all the pool maintenance tasks you’ll perform over the life of your pool, testing the water is the one thing you’ll do more than anything else.
How to Test Pool Water Accurately
It doesn’t seem like it should be a complicated endeavor, and it’s really not. You even have a few testing options.
How to Take a Proper Pool Water Sample
The most important factors here are where you take the sample from, and how you do it. If possible, take the sample from the absolute middle of your pool.
How to Use Test Strips
In addition to being super quick and easy to use, test strips can also sometimes be more accurate than liquid test kits because human error can make it difficult to match up the colors using the chemical drops.
Well Water Testing (Private Drinking Water)
About Well Water Testing
Your well water can affect the health of everyone who consumes it. At PHO, we test for the indicators of bacterial contamination:
Coliforms: These bacteria are often found in animal waste, sewage, as well as soil and vegetation. If they are in your drinking water, surface water may be entering your well.
coli (Escherichia coli). These bacteria are normally found only in the digestive systems of people and animals. If they are in your drinking water, it usually means that animal or human waste is entering your well from a nearby source.
We do not test for other contaminants such as chemicals. This means that even if your results show there is no bacterial contamination in your drinking water, it still may be unsafe to drink.
For all other environmental testing, including testing for chemical contaminants, please consult with your local public health unit.
If you are an owner or operator of a large drinking water system under Ontario regulation 170/03 and need more information, contact the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. For more information about small drinking water systems regulated under Ontario regulation 319/08, contact your local public health unit
Standard drinking water test
What should I do before I take a water sample?
Before you take a sample, call the laboratories listed in Table 2 to obtain sampling bottles and information on the correct sampling procedure. Please note that your sample will not provide you with accurate information unless the:
- correct sample bottles are used
- correct volume is taken
- sample is stored at the required temperature
- sample is transported to and arrives at the laboratory in the correct time
- correct procedure is used to take the sample.
What do the results mean?
The Department of Health is able to interpret laboratory results and provide you with general advice on how to make your water safe to drink. Microbiological and chemical laboratories may also be able to assist you with additional technical advice. However, they are not in a position to provide you with health related advice.
Will the standard drinking water test, test for all contaminants?
No. The catchment or source of your drinking water can affect the water quality in many ways. Water can dissolve chemicals and transport microbiological contaminants while it travels through or across the catchment area. It is important that you identify the hazards that occur in or on the catchment area before you test the water.
How to test for lead in your home water supply
How lead enters your home’s water supply
Just like in Flint, lead can enter your home when lead plumbing materials, which can include faucets, pipes, fittings and the solder that holds them all together, become corroded and begin to release lead into the water. Corrosion is most likely to happen when water has a high acid or low mineral content and sits inside pipes for several hours, says the EPA.
Lead is everywhere
Finding out about lead in your water is only one part of the solution. Lead enters our bodies from many common contaminated sources other than drinking water, such as dust, soil and air. In fact, the EPA says the main source of lead exposure in the United States comes from inhaling dust or eating particles contaminated by paint chips. That’s because lead was a common additive in house paint, gasoline and many other materials for years before its toxicity was known.