Water samples from workshop participants were incubated to determine the presence of Coliform bacteria.
Unless users of private water systems have their water tested, there is no way for them to know if their water is safe to drink. Well and spring owners have the responsibility for any testing and treatment of their water supply. Many contaminants that have the potential to cause illness don’t cause the water to look, taste or smell objectionable, so detecting problems by these factors alone isn’t enough to determine if a water source is safe.Penn State’s research has found that only about half of private water system owners have ever had their water supply tested which leaves many not knowing the true quality of their drinking water source.
A drinking water clinic was held in Butler County on May 15, where on-site water tests were performed to give participants an idea of their water quality. Homeowners were able to bring in a sample and have it tested for pH, total dissolved solids, nitrates, hardness and bacteria. While further testing through a certified lab was also recommended, those in attendance were able to learn valuable information about their home water supply. During the workshop, participants learned about maintaining their well, being aware of land use near their water supply, and water treatment options that are available. Sixteen people participated in the workshop, and 10 households had their water tested by Extension educators.
These types of water testing clinics are periodically available throughout Pennsylvania. Find a clinic being held nearest to you.