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Water is a substance that people consume and use every day. Everyone needs to drink water to feel energised and be healthy. It is something that everybody uses to have clean clothes and a hygienic, safe house to live in.

Although water sustains life, there will be instances wherein it can cause a person harm. This happens when an individual intentionally or unintentionally drinks or inhales contaminated water. Some of the most harmful and potentially fatal bacteria that could be lurking in your home’s sources and systems include:

• Legionella
• Acanthamoeba
• Cryptosporidium
• E. coli
• Coliform

Because the water you use and drink can cause you and others to be unhealthy, you have to use water quality testing kits in your home from time to time.

Testing the Quality of Your Water

If you are a property owner and haven’t had the water in your home tested for a long time, or at all, you should do this immediately during these instances:

1. There have been cases of illnesses in your household recently.

Legionnaires’ disease, diarrhoea, viral gastroenteritis, E. coli infection, amoebiasis, hepatitis, giardiasis, and cryptosporidiosis are just of some of the most common diseases you can get when you drink or inhale tainted water. If you and/or other family members have been diagnosed with any of these illnesses (or any other water-borne diseases), it’s time to test the water in your home.

2. There is someone pregnant or nursing in your home.

You don’t want an expecting or nursing loved one to acquire a disease because of the water she drinks or uses to take a bath. You don’t want the baby to get sick because of the water in your home either. You can be sure your pregnant or breastfeeding loved one and baby are using safe, clean water by testing its quality.

3. One or more of your neighbours found a harmful or unwanted contaminant in their water.

All communities have just one source or supplier of water. If one or several of your neighbours or other households in your community recently conducted water testing and discovered some unsafe microbes in their water, make sure you test the plumbing system in your home, too.

4. There was a recent chemical, sewage or diesel spill in your area.

Hazardous pollutants and contaminants that come from a chemical, sewage or fuel spill can seep into the plumbing system. They can also infiltrate the public water source if the spill happened in or near that area. If you know of such incidents in your vicinity, before using or consuming any water in your home, conduct the appropriate tests first.

5. There is a sudden change in the taste, colour, clarity and smell of your water.

Water discolouration and the appearance of an odd taste or smell can be caused by various reasons. In many instances, discolouration and a change in smell don’t necessarily mean your water has become unsafe and unhealthy. However, chemical, sewage, or diesel spills can bring about these changes and cause water to be unsafe for use and consumption.
If you notice a difference in the quality of water in your home, err on the side of caution and conduct the necessary tests immediately.

6. There was work done on your plumbing in the house or leading to the house.

Shoddy plumbing work can cause different types of bacteria to find their way through the pipes and faucets. If you’re not sure if the plumbing work was done properly by your contractors, aside from checking the repaired or new fixtures, consider conducting water quality tests as well.

7. Your home was built before 1963 and the plumbing system has never been changed or modernised.

Lead is a substance that comes from vehicle exhaust, old paint jobs, and even in some food products. It can also be found in tap water, especially if your home has old lead pipework in. Old copper plumbing that may have lead-bearing solder in the joints can also contain and transfer water that might contain lead.

Excessive exposure to lead can be dangerous to humans, especially young kids and unborn babies. Various studies have shown that lead may have some effect on their mental and behavioural development. Test your water regularly, and if contaminants are present, have your plumbing system replaced.

Water quality testing kits are easy to use. Simply order your kits from a reputable manufacturer or supplier, such as Aquacert and follow the instructions for collecting samples. When ready, have the samples picked up for laboratory testing. After a few days, you will get the results. If contaminants are present in your water system, you will be given treatment and prevention advice.

If you want to be sure the water you have at home is safe for everyone’s use, conduct regular water quality tests. Always be watchful of changes in the quality of your water as well.