In India, one of the first questions every new home owner wants answered, is the quality and abundance of water in his new home. Your home could have access to water from two sources – water piped in by the municipal board, or water drawn up from the ground, either from conventional wells or bore wells. Almost every country has a Law in place for clean and pure water. Such Laws require its citizens to be provided with water that meets a certain basic minimum standard in clean and pure drinking water. A good example is the clean water act passed by the US government, in 1972.
Therefore, while water provided by your municipality undergoes cleaning, you might often prefer to have a further water purification process in place, to account for organic and mineral contaminants resident in old pipes, tanks and similar large storage devices. Similarly, water drawn up from ground water sources should also go through assessment and necessary purification before it is used for consumption.
An article in WebMD says: ‘Water can be contaminated in several ways. It can contain microorganisms like bacteria and parasites that get in the water from human or animal faecal matter. It can contain chemicals from industrial waste or from spraying crops. Nitrates used in fertilisers can enter the water with runoff from the land. Various minerals such as lead or mercury can enter the water supply, sometimes from natural deposits underground, or more often from improper disposal”
This means that, before you choose the appropriate water purification system for your home, you must first gain an understanding of the quality of water available to you. Does my water look clear? Does it have unpleasant taste or odour? Is it likely to have deadly invisible pathogens, or minute chemical or metal particles that could harm your health in the long run?
Often, a simple home assessment kit can answer most of these questions, and give you a realistic picture of how safe your water is for you and your family. Your kit can involve the following items:
Pathogen Test Kit
This will help you detect the amount of oxidising and non-oxidising biocides in your water, and give you an understanding of the amount of microbiological activity in the water available to you. This is a field analysis kit, and is usually suitable for homes as well as industrial sites.
A range of products are available to monitor the amount of corrosion that your water might be causing, on commonly used metals such as steel, aluminium, copper and brass.
Test kits are available to analyse water for a broad range of chemical parameters. These kits provide a reasonably accurate assessment of the spectrum of chemicals present in the water, and are used not only to assess drinking water, but also to assess the suitability of water for certain industrial purposes.
Alternative to the above, cheaper, easier-to-use test blocks can be procured, which are quite dependable to check for common chemical parameters, including ammonia, chlorine, nitrites and phosphates. For the same purpose, test strips are also available, that help test water for hardness, metal and mineral presence, as well as other chemical contaminants.
Apart from these, today you can access several hand-held devices such as pH meters that allow you to understand the acid and base levels of you water, and turbidity meters that help you understand the cloudiness of your water that may not be fully visible to naked eye.
To test the TDS (Total Dissolved Substances) in your water, pocket TDS meters are available, and similarly, chlorination tests are available to check if the chlorination levels in your water are at acceptable standards.
While many of these are available at a very low cost, it is important to ensure that you purchase and use high quality testers, so that there is no compromise in the quality of assessment that is done.