following analytes are considered to be important as a measure of potability.
Because of the high cost of testing for everything that may be dissolved in your
water, these are frequently used as indicators, and high levels may prompt more
in-depth testing or treatment. The maximum levels listed are the contaminant
levels set by the EPA and local health authorities.
Coliform Bacteria – We are able to
detect one organism or “colony forming unit” as they are called, in a
100-milliliter sample. These bacteria are an indicator of possible fecal
contamination, which comes from septic systems or contaminated runoff, and is
our major concern.
Nitrate/Nitrite – Emanates from
decayed organic matter. High nitrate/nitrite levels are frequently associated
with surface water contamination in private wells. Levels over 10 mg/L for
nitrate and 1 mg/L for nitrite are considered unsafe.
Chloride – A measure of the salt
content of your water. Wells near the coast, or deep wells inland, may be
contaminated with high levels of chloride. 250 mg/L of chloride is the upper
limit set by EPA. Sodium Chloride imparts a salty taste to the water and is
corrosive at high levels.
Lead – Before 1987, lead was used
in solder to construct plumbing systems. If your water is corrosive, some lead
may leach into the water supply. The upper limit is 0.015 mg/L (15 ppb).
TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) - A
measure of all of the minerals in your water…The EPA allows 500 PPM as a
maximum level in public water supplies.
The following groups of nuisance contaminants are not considered health hazards, however they may ruin clothing, fixtures and water related appliances. They also impart an objectionable taste and odor to the water. A properly designed and sized water treatment system will provide clean, clear, good tasting water as well as protect your investments.
Iron – Typically dissolved in the water until exposed to air, when it
oxidizes and stains fixtures and clothing. Iron is common in private wells and
will stain at levels above 0.3 mg/L.
also affects taste and odor in water. Iron Removal
Sulfur – (Hydrogen Sulfide)
Associated with the activity of subterranean bacteria. Rotten egg odor is
offensive and will react with metal, corroding plumbing and fixtures. Sulfur Removal
Hardness – A measure of the calcium
carbonate dissolved in the water. In Florida this comes from the water being
trapped in the limestone aquifer, where some of the rock dissolves into the
water. Hardness causes staining of shower walls and floors, decreases the
effectiveness of soap, damages water heaters, and can restrict water flow in
plumbing systems. Water Softeners