Water Tests – Master List

Metal Tests Description


Naturally occurring with sulfide minerals (e.g. pyrite). Used in storage batteries, ammunition, pesticides, and wood preservatives. Severe poisoning at 100mg; chronic effects from accumulation at low intake levels.
WI State Standard for Drinking Water: 10 µg/L


Used in alloys, electroplating, and in pigments. Non-essential for plants. Carcinogenic via inhalation and are corrosive to tissues. Concentrations in drinking water are correlated to alkalinity and hardness (the softer the water, the less chromium).
WI State Standard for Drinking Water: 100 µg/L


Widely used in electrical wiring, roofing, alloys, cooking utensils, and piping. Corrosion of copper pipes may introduce measurable copper amounts into the water system. Considered and essential trace element.
WI State Standard for Drinking Water: 1.3 mg/L.


Naturally occurring (e.g. minerals: hematite, magnetite, taconite, and pyrite). Used in steel and other alloys. Elevated levels of iron in water can promote staining, taste, and color. U.S. EPA Secondary Drinking Water Standard: 0.3 mg/L.


Used in batteries, ammunition, solder, piping, insecticides, and alloys. Lead in water supply may originate from industry, mining, or plumbing. Non-essential for plants and animals. Toxic by ingestion and cumulative poison.
WI State Standard for Drinking Water: 15 µg/L.


Elevated levels cause black staining on plumbing, laundry, and cooking utensils. Essential trace element for plants and animals.
WI Secondary Drinking Water Standard: 50 µg/L
Inorganic Tests Description


Major anion in water (salty taste). High concentration may harm metallic pipes, structures, and growing plants.


Used to destroy disease-producing microorganisms. Improves water quality with regards to ammonia, iron, manganese, sulfide, and organic substances. Too high of concentrations affect taste and odor.


Both naturally occurring and added at controlled amounts.
WI State Standard for Drinking Water: 4 mg/L.


Excessive amounts in drinking water can lead to methemoglobinemia in infants.
WI State Standard for Drinking Water: 10 µg/L prevents methemoglobinemia from occurring.


Intermediate oxidation state of nitrogen and reduces to nitrate.
WI State Standard for Drinking Water: 1 mg/L.


Widely distributed in nature. In the presence of organic material, certain bacteria will become active.

Total Phosphorus

Essential in organism growth.


Coarsely crystalline (quartz, rock crystal, amethyst) and microcrystalline (flint, chert, jasper) can form scale deposits in boilers.
Organic Test Description


Enters water via vegetable matter degradation through wastes of tanning industry.
Physical Property Test Description


Water’s quantitative ability to react with bases. Influences reaction rates & promotes corrosiveness; influences biological activity and chemical speciation. Useful as a measurement for quality of water.


Water’s capability of neutralizing acids.


The ability of an aqueous solution to conduct an electrical current based on the presence of ions.


The sum of calcium and magnesium concentrations.


One of the most important and frequently used measurements in water quality. Used in alkalinity measurements, pH is the measure of H+ ions present. Alkalinity and acidity are the acid-base equilibria. The intensity of the acid or base is indicated by the pH.


Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in water. Water with high TDS may induce unfavorable physiological reactions in consumers. Unsatisfactory bathing conditions result with high TDS.


Measure of water clarity. Caused by suspend matter (such as: clay, silt, and organic matter).
Bacteria Tests Description

& E.coli

Coliform bacteria (total coliform) are considered indicators for fecal contamination, pathogenic and opportunistic pathogenic bacteria, and possible inadequate sanitation.


Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia typically caused by the bacterium, Legionella, which has also been linked to Pontiac Fever.


Pseudomonas bacteria can be found in a number of different areas – including moist areas like pools and hot tubs and healthcare facilities like hospitals. The bacteria can lead to infection on anywhere on your body and can result in serious health issues.

**Information obtained from the Standard Method for the Examination of Water and Wastewater 22nd Edition. (2012). Washington : American Public Health Association