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Is Your Water Contaminated? Here’s How To Find Out

April 09, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

The water you drink plays an important role in how sick you get. There are many diseases and infections such as Hepatitis and Jaundice, as well as some forms of kidney infections that can spread through the consumption of contaminated water.

The Perils of Unsafe Drinking Water

The definition of contaminated water is also very broad. It can mean major contamination when there is a mixture of alien substances into the water and it enters into a dirty non-consumable state. For example, muddy or dirty water. Or water can also get contaminated when it has not been filtered or cleaned properly and there are still germs and bacteria present. This can prove to be very dangerous, as unlike substances such as mud and dirt, bacteria and germs cannot be observed with the naked eye and therefore, the chances of diseases and infections spreading through these germs and bacteria are still present.

It is generally common knowledge that contaminated water is bad for you. Therefore, one of the United Nations Global Goals is to ensure that every man, woman, and child has access to safe and clean drinking water by 2030. To achieve this goal the United Nations is working with different governments and NGOs to make this dream a reality.

However, what is not common knowledge, is how one can find out what is contaminated water and what is clean water. Simply looking at the glass and checking for any dirt particles is not enough. Experts recommend for you to conduct testing on your water sources to ensure that it is clean and drinkable as well as usable.

How to Test Contaminated Water

There are a few tests that one can carry out when one needs to test a body of water. The method and test used would depend on the severity of the contamination and the frequency of testing done in the past. Some tests can be conducted at home with low budgets, while others may require heavy-duty laboratory equipment.

The most basic method for testing is using test strips, these are usually used to check the pH level of your water. The preferred pH balance for water should be around 6.5 to 8. Above 7 is alkaline, and below 7 is acidic. The higher one gets in the pH scale, the more alkaline the water is and the lower one goes, the more acidic the water is. Therefore, the preference is to have somewhat alkaline or neutral water.

Another method for testing water is to use colored disk kits. These kits have powders of chemicals in them and when the water is added to the disk sets it reveals a color which is then compared to a color chart to show what chemicals are present in the water. This is slightly more accurate than just testing for the pH level.

Moreover, one can also use laboratory equipment for testing water. Equipment such as colorimeters and photometers are mostly used when it comes to testing. Using such equipment would provide you with the most accurate results when it comes to testing water contamination. However, these methods are expensive and would need to be handled with care, preferably by professionals.

When to Consult a Professional?

Generally, water testing kits lookout for pH, the amount of chlorine, fluoride, and most importantly arsenic. There are different parameters for all of these chemicals and therefore must be dealt with separately.

When water contamination levels reach an alarming state, it would probably be best to approach a professional in order to find the source of the issue.

In the meanwhile, there might be a possibility of someone developing health complications as a result of the poor quality of water. Therefore, it would be suggested to consult a doctor for a checkup in order to ensure that there are no major issues.