Water Tests Master List

Water Tests – Master List

Metal Tests Description

Arsenic

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

Chromium

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

Copper

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.

Iron

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.

Lead

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.

Manganese

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

Chloride

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

Chlorine

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.

Fluoride

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

Nitrate

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

Nitrite

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

Sulfate

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

Total Phosphorus

Essential in organism growth.

Silica

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

Tannin

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

Acidity

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.

Alkalinity

Water’s capability of neutralizing acids.

Conductivity

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

Hardness

The sum of calcium and magnesium concentrations.

pH

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.

TDS

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

Turbidity

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

Coliform
& E.coli

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

Legionella

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

Pseudomonas

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