Type to search

How To Test Water Quality

Whether it’s geoengineering or sewage run-off or something even more nefarious, it is always a good idea to test your rainwater or ponds for heavy metals. Below are some affordable options for how to test water quality, as well as some basic ways you can do it using your own senses and savvy.

How To Test Water Quality

Check out this affordable option for testing out your water’s pH levels, along with many other items..

  • Bacteria–Strains of E. coli can cause serious illness or death.
  • Lead–Causes developmental harm, neurological damage, and kidney damage.
  • Pesticides–From agricultural uses, linked to increased cancer rates.
  • Nitrates/nitrites–From fertilizers and animal waste, causes developmental problems.
  • Chlorine–By-products can increase cancer risk and cause bad taste and odor.
  • Hardness–Causes lime scale and higher detergent use.
  • pH–Can cause heavy metal (such as lead) leaching and plumbing damage.

First Alert WT1 Drinking Water Test Kit


how to test water quality

Photo by mckaysavage

Just because you don’t drink your tap water doesn’t mean your life isn’t still exposed to your local water supplies. Do you shower in it? Do you ever wash fruits or vegetables in it? Do you wash your hands in it? What about your coffee?

Testing your water quality just makes sense. It helps you and your family remain safe from toxins that fall from our skies and sewage runoffs and untrustworthy governments (think Flint, Michigan).


Use your own senses. Literally, smell the water and see if you sense an issue. Your human body was built to detect unsafe environments. Professional water quality services typically smell water themselves, so you should also. It doesn’t take a science degree to know when something smells foul and shouldn’t be put inside of our bodies.

What are you smelling for?

Chemical, bleach smells. This is the smell of chlorine that is placed in the water by the local water company. It is how they treat water to make it safe. The smell should lighten up the longer you leave your water out (exposure to air will counter the scent).

Spoiled milk or egg scent. This, my friends, is bad, but I probably didn’t have to tell you that. This indicates the presence of unwanted bacteria.

Taste The water. Once you’ve smelled it and you feel confident it passed the test, you might consider giving a small taste. If you immediately notice a horrible taste, spit it out. You should swish around at first and allow your taste buds to work before swallowing it.

A metallic taste could be the result of low pH levels. This could mean the presence of heavy metals. Excessive chlorinating could cause a chemical taste. A salty taste could mean sulfates.

Look at the water. You have eyes, put them to use. Pour some of the water in a clear glass. You should then look to see if you see anything floating in it. If you see rust colored particles, it could be related to the pipes. The more orange or red, the more likely it means the pipes are rusted. After that, is the water cloudy? An excessive amount of magnesium carbonate and / or calcium carbonate could cause this. Also, when looking at the water, a murky look, or a brownish look, might signal that the water has heavy pollution in it.

Go directly and check the pipes. This could ultimately be a YOU issue. You can physically check your pipes. Corrosion and excessive minerals, rust, it all could be getting into your home’s water via your own darn pipes. Above ground pipes might show white or blue sediments. If your pipes are difficult to asses due to being tucked underground, you can look at your toilet or sink for indications that your water might have excessive rust or other issues.

You can contact your municipality directly. These places are required, by law, to perform regular water safety testing. Do you trust them more than you trust you? Well, that’s an entirely different matter completely.

Your city should have a website that makes this process easy. You likely can obtain a water quality report in simple and quick fashion. There is also a national drinking water database that might help.

You could just contact your water company. Someone from there should easily be able to give you a water quality report.

All said and done, you have lots of options and rights when it comes to your water supply, but don’t take any of it for granted. As mentioned at the top of this article, I highly suggest that you do the testing yourself. The above option is the most affordable. Depending on your budget, you could get even more sophisticated.

When it comes to water, you and your family come first. Don’t settle. Don’t trust. Always Prep For That.


Please visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information.

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases