Field and Pastures: Creating a Balance

Water Testing: What Does the Process Involve?

Water testing is the scientific process of evaluating the contents of your water. It is only through this lab process that you can truly ascertain what is in your water, their volumes and how they affect your water. Water testing is vital when you want to verify that water is safe for drinking, swimming pool use, livestock, irrigation, fisheries and other applications. To test you water, this is what you'll need to do.

Find a water testing lab

First, find a water testing lab. It is best to find a local lab as they may be more alert to water contaminants associated with your area. If you cannot find a commercial water lab, try labs operated by government water and environmental bodies, organizations or institutions e.g. universities and research bodies. Make sure the lab you go to has the facilities to carry out water tests. There are tens of different tests that can be carried out on water depending on what one is looking for. A water testing lab needs to have a license for each one. Find out how many water testing licenses your lab has; the more, the better.

Collecting your water samples

Once you have identified a lab, find out how you should collect water samples. Some labs will offer to send a technician to do so. Others will provide you with sample containers and show you how to collect and transport the water. The main goal is to avoid introducing anything foreign into the water such as sweat or soap.

If testing water that is flowing through several bodies or systems, it's always better to collect samples from each stage. For example, if testing borehole water, you can take a sample from the borehole, from your storage tank and from the tap. Doing so lets you narrow down where contamination may be originating from.

Testing & results

Once you take your water sample to the lab, you'll need to fill a form showing what you need tested. Common water tests include: coliforms (fecal bacteria), salts, metals, particulate matter, pesticides, oxygen levels and temperature.

Once you have the lab results, you'll need to know what all the test figures mean for you. You can ask technicians like Agrifood Technology to interpret the results. This will let you know if the water is safe for your intended use.

Once the test is done and you know what's in your water, you can hire a water technician for treatment services. They can help you treat borehole water, industrial water, swimming pool water, environmental water, fisheries water or whatever other water body you have.