Water, our most precious commodity.
It never wears out, but it does become contaminated. The safety of the water we use – for drinking, cooking, and bathing – cannot be taken for granted. Water may look safe, taste good, and smell fine – yet be unsafe to drink.
Fortunately, we are here to help! We have grouped some of the most common water concerns into three packages so that you can know what you and your family are drinking. We also offer individual tests. Please call 301-293-3340 for more information. The EPA recommends testing your drinking water annually.
Why do sinks turn blue/green?
Blue/green stains indicate that acidic/corrosive water is passing through copper pipes, dissolving the copper from the pipes, and redepositing it as copper sulfate on the plumbing fixtures.
What is a normal pH reading?
Neutral pH is 7. Less than 7 is acidic; more than 7 is alkaline.
Examples of pH:
- Vinegar has a pH of 2.
- Pollution free rain has a pH of 5.7. The pH of “acid” rain can be as low as 3.
- Drano has a pH of 12.
- EPA recommends the pH of drinking water between 6.5 and 8.5.
Why is my water cloudy?
- If the problem is worse after rain, it is probably sediment and indicates intrusion of surface water into the well.
- A sudden appearance may indicate the collapse of the well wall.
Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?
- The smell may indicate a severe bacteria contamination;
- If only the hot water contains the odor, the hot water heater probably has a magnesium anode rod. The purpose of the rod is to reduce corrosion in the tank but under certain conditions can produce a rotten egg (hydrogen sulfide) odor.
- Naturally occurring pockets of hydrogen sulfide may be present in the ground. This may be corrected with a taste and odor filter or through chlorinating.
What tests are recommended if I'm pregnant or if I have small children?
- Test for bacteria because bacteria contamination is the most common problem with private wells and frequently indicates the intrusion of surface water. This is an undesirable condition.
- Test for nitrates because elevated nitrate levels can interfere with the transport of oxygen in the blood of small infants and the unborn child, which can lead to a condition called methemoglobenia (blue baby syndrome).
- Test for lead because infants are most susceptible to lead toxicity.
Why does my water produce brown stains?
Brown stains usually indicate the presence of iron or manganese in the water.
Should the homeowner try to correct this situation?
Yes. Pinpoint leaks can eventually develop in the system as a result of this leaching process. It also increases the possibility of leaching lead from any lead solder joints or lead-containing fixtures. This situation can be corrected by installing an acid
When should you test your water?
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends yearly water testing.
- Recurrent gastro-intestinal illness
- Scaly residues, soaps don’t lather
- Water softener needed to treat hardness
- Stained plumbing fixtures, laundry
- Objectionable taste or smell
- Water appears cloudy, frothy or colored
- Corrosion of pipes, plumbing
- Rapid wear of water treatment equipment
- Nearby areas of intensive agriculture
- Odor of gasoline or fuel oil, and near gas station or buried fuel tanks
- Dump, junkyard, landfill, factory or dry-cleaning operation nearby
- Salty taste and seawater, or a heavily salted roadway nearby
Our Testing Packages
Water quality is based on guidelines established under the Federal and State
Safe Drinking Water Acts (SDWA). Primary Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) are the maximum permissible levels of a contaminant in water and are federally enforceable standards. Levels higher than the MCLs may have adverse effects on one’s health.
Our Collection Schedule
Collection Fees Start at $60
In a Hurry?
We can collect outside of our route schedule for an additional fee
You can collect the sample in TWO full 1-quart sized sterilized mason jars. Sterilize the jars by placing them and the lids in boiling water for 10 minutes or by running them through the dishwasher cycle. Sample Collection Container 1 - Lead and Copper PRIOR TO...
BEFORE SAMPLING The laboratory will provide two preserved bottles for sampling, a bagged field blank kit, and nitrile gloves. The sample collector must wash their hands before sampling and wear nitrile gloves while filling and...
You can collect the sample in a full 1-quart sized sterilized mason jar. Sterilize the jar by placing the jar and lid in boiling water for 10 minutes or by running it through the dishwasher cycle. FILL ALL THE BOTTLES FROM THE SAME SOURCE SELECT THE BEST SOURCE. The...
Aluminum occurs naturally in water and is also used in water-treatment processes to flocculate suspended particles. No standard has been set, but at high levels it has been suggested that it may cause skeletal and neurological problems.Arsenic in water can result from...
WELL ANATOMY All wells must be constructed by licensed well drillers in accordance with state regulations. The well must pass inspection and the water should be certified as potable (drinkable) by the health department before the well can be used. The components of a...
What are iron bacteria? Iron bacteria are widespread in the environment. They will generally be found in iron water pipes and anywhere else that a combination of dissolved iron and dissolved oxygen is present. Iron bacteria are found in soil, stream, cool surface...
Question: How can gasoline enter my well water? Answer: Over the past fifty years, many buried gasoline tanks have been abandoned or not properly monitored and are now leaking gasoline into the environment. Unfortunately, once gasoline or fuel oil is lost from the...
The Frederick County Health Department supplies the following information to citizens whose well water is contaminated. The department recommends the following procedure for chlorinating a contaminated well. Before treatment, turn off the pump breaker before removing...
When should I test my well? Test a new well that has been drilled. After the contractor chlorinates the well and pumps the chlorine clear, allow the well to return to normal conditions for about a week - then contact a lab for testing. Test before the water is used...