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Drinking and Well Water Testing

Table of Contents

What is Drinking Water Testing?

Drinking water testing analyzes water samples to determine the presence and concentration of various contaminants, including lead, chemical, biological, and physical substances. This is a vital step to ensuring that the water you consume is safe and meets established health standards. 

Regular testing helps identify potential health risks and allows for appropriate treatment methods to be implemented. This applies to both municipal water supplies and private well water sources.

Lead Water Test Kits

The EPA regulatory limit for lead in water is 15 ppb of lead.

San Francisco residents can request lead water testing kits for $25. Call 650-653-3100. The 

Looking at their sampling instructions, it is safe to assume these tests will be marginally effective. A sterilized glass container needs to be used. Their instructions says “clean” so some chemicals from soap may be present. EPA does not authorize all lead water testing kits sold, so read the package carefully.

A positive results should always be confirmed by professional water testing. It may be a false positive or it may be accurate – you need reliable, accurate results.

These home lead water kits usually find dissolved lead but don’t find lead particles from old lead pipes.

The same is true from the hardware store/Amazon kits. And they usually don’t test for sewage, viruses, bacteria, or parasites.

Going Beyond Lead

There are common contaminants like lead, but we also offer testing for chemicals like 1,1,1,2-Tetrachlorathane (from dry cleaners dumping chemicals that leached into our aquafer) to pesticides, PCB, TPH, MBAS, etc. Our complete analysis is a very long list. 

Water testing for human consumption is complex. Give us a call to discuss. This way your specific concerns can be identified and, chances are good, we can professionally test for your requirements. 

Bacteria And Microorganisms

Harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and Legionella, can find their way into water supplies through various means, including sewage leaks or inadequate treatment processes. These microorganisms can cause severe illnesses, making their detection essential.


Agricultural runoff, industrial byproducts and chemical contaminants like arsenic, mercury, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can infiltrate water sources. Prolonged exposure can lead to adverse health effects, including reproductive issues, neurological disorders, and, in some cases, an increased in cancer.

Hard Water Minerals

These minerals are not directly harmful to humans, they certainly can cause water pipe damage.  Calcium and magnesium can cause scaling and corrosion in all plumbing systems. This may cause water leaks and reduced efficiency of your interior water system. Professional water testing can identify these hard water minerals and recommend treatment solutions.

Testing for Building Water Quality

Institutional and commercial buildings, such as schools, offices and health care facilities have very specific water quality concerns. Regular professional water testing is essential for compliances with regulations, insurance requirements and to protect occupants and visitors. 

Aging Infrastructure

Older buildings may have outdated plumbing systems that can leach contaminants like lead into the water supply. Professional water testing can identify these issues and assist in developing an abatement strategies to mitigate health risks.

Cooling Tower Management and Legionella

Legionella bacteria, responsible for Legionnaires’ disease, can thrive in cooling towers and large building water systems. Comprehensive water testing and monitoring programs are crucial for preventing outbreaks and ensuring compliance with local regulations. Routine maintenance is essential to maintaining these systems.

Well Water testing

The most unusual request for well water testing came from a company that grows flowers sold as organic flowers. There water and soil was clean and we buy their flowers in preference to the local Costco flowers that usually have so much antifungal chemicals they should not be brought into a building (personal opinion). We are a San Francisco based business but we can test well water. Give us a call to discuss.

Naturally Occurring Contaminants

Groundwater can contain naturally occurring substances like radon, arsenic, and fluoride, which can be harmful in excessive concentrations. Professional water testing identifies these contaminants and guides appropriate treatment methods.

Agricultural and Industrial Runoff

Wells located near agricultural or industrial areas may be vulnerable to contamination from pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. Water testing can detect these pollutants and help safeguard your water supply. If you run a spa in Napa Valley, this should be a priority concern.

Bacterial Contamination

Improperly constructed or maintained wells can allow surface water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites to enter the groundwater supply. Regular water testing is essential for detecting and addressing these issues.

The Professional Water Testing Process

Professional water testing services follow rigorous protocols and utilize state-of-the-art equipment to provide accurate and reliable results. The process typically involves:

Sample Collection

Trained technicians collect water samples from various points in your water system, ensuring proper handling and preservation techniques to maintain sample integrity.

Laboratory Analysis

Samples are analyzed in certified laboratories using advanced analytical methods, such as mass spectrometry, chromatography, and microbiological culturing techniques. These analyses detect and quantify a wide range of contaminants with precision.

Comprehensive Reporting

After thorough analysis, you will receive a detailed report outlining the water quality findings, including any detected contaminants and their concentrations. This report serves as a basis for developing appropriate treatment strategies or taking corrective actions.

Choosing the Right Professional Water Testing Partner

When selecting a professional water testing service, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

Accreditation and Certifications

Look for providers accredited by recognized organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or state environmental agencies. These accreditations ensure adherence to strict quality standards and accurate testing methodologies.

Experience and Expertise

Choose a water testing company with a proven track record and experienced professionals who can interpret test results accurately and provide tailored recommendations for your specific situation.

Comprehensive Service Offerings

Consider providers that offer a wide range of water testing services, including testing for various contaminants, well water analysis, and specialized tests for specific industries or applications.

Customer Support and Communication

Opt for a water testing partner that prioritizes clear communication and provides dedicated support throughout the testing process, from sample collection to result interpretation and follow-up recommendations.

By partnering with a reputable professional water testing service, you can take proactive steps to ensure the safety and quality of your water supply, protecting the health and well-being of those who depend on it.


The San Francisco Water and Power and Sewer tests for lead in drinking water and provides a lengthy free report,  They also offer a $25 lead water analysis, free for WIC program participants. Call 311 for additional info.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Highlights the importance of drinking water quality and safety, providing guidelines on water testing schedules and methods under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Testing ensures that water meets EPA standards, helping to safeguard public health by identifying contaminants such as microorganisms, chemicals, and heavy metals that can cause health issues.