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Concerned about what’s in your water supply?

Water Quality Testing

Water testing required by your regulatory agency? Concerned about what is in your water supply and need a water quality assessment? Wondering if your water filter is removing heavy metals from your drinking water? If you answer yes to any of these questions you need a water quality expert!

If you care about water quality you know that a bad taste or bad smell can ruin the pleasure of drinking. If your water tastes “weird” or smells “chemically” then there is clearly a reason for concern. However, not every water pollutant can be tasted or smelled. Some dangerous forms of bacteria and many common pesticides and heavy metals cannot be detected without water lab analysis. Not knowing if your water supply is safe can cost you more than just anxiety, and investing in bottled water or water purification can be expensive and unnecessary. Water samples and a water quality inspection can determine if filtration is necessary or effective.

Who Needs a Water Quality Consultant

Commercial water testing and industrial water testing may be compliance requirements, but the young and elderly, immune compromised, or pregnant should be especially cautious. The US EPA suggests private wells be tested annually for nitrates and coliform bacteria. Unfortunately, however, the US EPA does not regulate many chemicals commonly found in our municipal water supply. The more we know about our water system the more empowered we are to make sure we are getting the highest quality water possible.

Other questions for a water quality consultant include what type of water filter should I buy, how often should I change the water filter, and which type of piping is better: plastic vs. copper? Many don’t even know there is a water filter on their refrigerator, or where their whole-house water filter is located.

Through precise lab analysis, we make the invisible – visible. Our user-friendly reports will indicate if additional water filtration is recommended or if your existing filtration system is sufficient, providing peace-of-mind and clear direction for maintaining good water quality.

Water Quality AssessmentWater Testing Service, water testing, water quality testing, water testing Bay Area, water testing San Francisco, Water testing Marin County

Healthy Building Science begins every water quality survey with questions about the water source, building plumbing, and occupant or owner goals. Similar to the “4 Ps” in air quality inspections, a good water quality assessment will always include this initial questionnaire in order to correctly prepare the scope of the water testing. The impetus for contacting a water quality expert and scope of water testing is obviously different for industrial and commercial water testing projects compared to office buildings and residential buildings. Step one is determining the overarching question we want to be answered by water testing.

Once we know the water question that needs answering, we help identify the most appropriate locations for water testing and specify which water laboratory analysis will most likely answer that question. For example, in order to test the effectiveness of a water filter, one must test at least twice – once before and once after the filter. Only then can you compare the water test results and determine how much of which contaminants are being removed. Whether you are testing for lead in water or for WELL Building Standard Verification, the second step in the water testing process is to determine where and what will be tested.

Water sampling follows. Special water sample containers are sterilized and often will contain preservatives. For example, when testing for bacteria in chlorinated water the preservative Sodium Thiosulfate is most often included in the sample water bottle. Water testing for ammonia, nitrite and total phosphorous requires Sulfuric Acid as a preservative, and when analyzing water for metals Nitric Acid is most often used. Before showing up to test the water quality consultant must know what pollutants are being targeted and must already have the proper water collection media on hand.

Samples are carefully collected so as not to cross-contaminate the sample or accidentally spill preservative from the bottles. A water quality expert will have experience with water testing procedures to minimize the risk of invalidating the sample at the lab. Depending on what water quality parameters are being evaluated, the sample will be shipped cool or at room temperature to the water quality lab. Lab results can be ready same day or may take up to three weeks, all depending on what water lab is best and within budget for the project.

Water quality results are generally compared to allowable limits from the EPA National Primary Drinking Water Regulations, or for the relevant regulatory agency if it is for compliance water testing.

Common Water Test Contaminants

If there is a known water pollutant such as lead or trihalomethane that is being targeted than only one lab test may be required, but more often clients need a comprehensive water quality screen that looks at many different parameters. Here are the more common clusters of water quality analysis available from water laboratories.

  • Microbiological: Total Coliform, E.coli, and Legionella
  • Inorganics and Metals: Aluminum, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Mercury, Nickel, Potassium, Selenium, Silica, Silver, Sodium, Zinc
  • Physical Factors: Alkalinity, Hardness, Total Dissolved Solids, Turbidity
  • Inorganic Analytes – Other: Chloride, Fluoride, Nitrate as N, Nitrite as N, Ortho Phosphate, Sulfate
  • Organic Analytes – Trihalomethanes: Bromodichloromethane, Bromoform, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane, Total THMs
  • Organic Analytes – Volatiles: 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane, 1,1,2-Trichloroethane, 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1,1-Dichloroethene, 1,1-Dichloropropene, 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene, 1,2-Dichlorobenzene, 1,2-Dichloroethane, 1,2-Dichloropropane, 1,3-Dichlorobenzene, 1,3-Dichloropropane, 1,4-Dichlorobenzene, 2,2-Dichloropropane, 2-Chlorotoluene, Chlorotoluene, Lithium, Strontium, Uranium, Bromide, Benzene, Bromobenzene, Bromomethane, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chlorobenzene, Chloroethane, Chloromethane, cis-1,2-Dichloroethene, cis-1,3-Dichloropropene, DBCP, Dibromomethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Dichloromethane, EDB, Ethylbenzene, Methyl Tert Butyl Ether, Methyl-Ethyl Ketone, Styrene, Tetrachloroethene, Tetrahydrofuran, Toluene, trans-1,2-Dichloroethene, trans-1,3-Dichloropropene, Trichloroethene, Trichlorofluoromethane, Vinyl Chloride, Xylenes
  • Pesticides, herbicides, and PCBs: 2,4-D, Alachlor, Aldrin, Atrazine, Chlordane, Dichloran, Dieldrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, Heptachlor Epoxide, Hexachlorobenzene, Hexachlorocyclopentadiene, Lindane, Methoxychlor, PCBs, Pentachloronitrobenzene, Silvex (2,4,5-TP), Simazine, Toxaphene, and Trifluralin

Water Testing Sample Projects

  • Water testing Santa Rosa hospital
  • Water testing Sacramento governmental agency building
  • Water testing San Francisco office buildings and WELL
  • Water testing San Jose home water test

Water Quality Testing Bay Area

Healthy Building Science is an environmental consulting firm which provides water quality testing services to commercial, multi-family buildings, offices, industrial and manufacturing workplaces, hospitals and medical facilities, and even single-family homes in the greater San Francisco Bay Area and all of Northern California including the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Hayward, Sunnyvale, Fremont, Concord, Salinas, Santa Clara, Berkeley, Vallejo, Fairfield, Antioch, Richmond, Daly City, San Rafael, San Mateo, Vacaville, San Leandro, Livermore and Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Napa County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Solano County and Sonoma County.

We would be pleased to become your go-to water quality consultant and help you with any of your water quality lab testing or water monitoring needs.

Please call 415-785-7986 or complete this online form today!

Water Testing Benefits

Water Testing Benefits

We have several packages of comprehensive water quality tests. We take samples according to EPA protocols and partner with certified labs for accurate results. HBS provides results in a user-friendly summary, and includes suggestions for maintaining healthy water quality.

After determining the scope of water quality screening required, HBS carefully collects the water sample(s). Our Standard Screen is comprehensive, including more than 80 contaminants.

Water Quality Testing Services

  • Microbiologicals:
  • Inorganics and Metals:
  • Physical Factors:
  • Inorganic Analytes
  • Organic Analytes

Standard Screen + Pesticides

  • Includes all of the Standard Screen
  • and 20 common pesticides

Blogs about water quality, drinking water contaminants, water filtration and water testing:



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