With the rise of contaminated water in local communities across the country, many people are now taking water testing into their own hands. Whether your water comes from a public water system or is from a private well or spring, routine testing is important to determine the quality level of your water. The EPA suggests testing your water supply every year, and especially if any of the following are true:

  • There is a new baby in the household.
  • You have issues with taste, odor, or staining.
  • There is a chemical or fuel leak nearby
  • There is an unexpected illness in the household.
  • Someone is pregnant or nursing in the household.

Testing your water quality does not need to be a hard or confusing process if you know where to look for help. Here are three ways to test your drinking water at home and what to look out for.

If your drinking water is through a public water system, you can contact them to view reports of the quality and history of you water. Public water systems are responsible for testing and maintaining water quality, in addition to providing its users with that information. If you are paying for your water, you should be receiving a Consumer Confidence Report every year with your bill, typically in July.

If your water is sourced from a private well, it is your responsibility to test for quality. In addition to determining quality, routine testing is also a good idea to establish a record of your water history. A good first step is to identify a few toxins that you want to test for. While an overall comprehensive test is great, it can add up in cost quickly. Take a look at the EPA’s list of identifying reasons to test your water, and figure out what contaminants are more likely to be present in your household. Once you know what you would like to test for, research accredited water testing labs in your area and follow their instructions for collecting a sample.

Lastly, to truly take matters into your own hands, pick up your own at home water testing kit. Most of these kits will be able to test your waters pH level and for commonly found contaminants like bacteria, pesticides, and chlorine.