Water Sampling

The first step in water quality sampling and testing is to answer the question “Why sample and test the water?”

Why Sample and Test the Water:

  • Regular testing is the only way to know if problems exist with your water quality.
  • To help ensure you are using water suitable for your intended agricultural use.
  • To help ensure that your drinking water is safe.
  • To help determine the effectiveness of your water treatment system.
  • To help determine if there is variability in a groundwater source
  • To help determine if there is a problem with the construction components of the water source

Determining the sampling objectives will help determine the number of samples required, and the location and type of the samples needed. Some reasons for sampling are: for the purpose of long-term monitoring of your water quality; to determine whether the water quality is generally good or bad for your intended use; to identify specific areas of concern such as points of suspected contamination; or to determine if a particular problem has been corrected.

Is my water safe to drink?

If you do not monitor your water quality by having it tested at an accredited laboratory, you cannot tell whether your drinking water is safe or not.

Harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses are invisible to the naked eye, so water that looks and tastes good may not necessarily be safe to drink. These microbes can exist in both ground and surface water supplies, and can cause immediate health effects if not properly treated for.

People often think that if they have not been sick for a while that there are no concerns with their water quality. Certain chemical contaminants that are sometimes found in a water source can cause long term health problems that may take years to develop. This stresses the importance of having an effective treatment system in place to ensure that your water is being treated to a satisfactory level.

What tests should I have done on my drinking water and how often?

There are many useful tests available to help determine the health, safety and performance of your water supply depending upon its type and location. Your local health department can assist you in selecting tests important for assessing your drinking water. 

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© Edward Holmes