How can I tell whether the water in my house is safe to drink?

eagle water treatment water odour smellsBadAlthough it is not easy there are a few things you can do. First off you can rely on your senses to alert you to a few of the more unappetizing things that spill into your drinking glass — like sulfur, with its distinctive rotten-egg smell, or too much chlorine. The water from most municipal systems in Canada is safe, because any system that serves 25 people or more is required to comply with federal regulations. Your water comes from a municipal system unless you have a private well on your property or live in a rural area where a number of families share a well. The water system must test regularly for potentially harmful contaminants and alert the public if any are above acceptable limits. Unless you've heard otherwise, you can be reasonably confident that your water meets federal standards. Still, there's only one way to know for sure what's in your water, and that's to have it tested.

How can I test my tap water?

If you're on a public or municipal water line in Canada, call your local water supplier (the number's most likely on your water bill). By law, the supplier must test its processed water regularly and provide you with a copy of the results. Alternatively, you can call a water treatment company such as Eagle Water Treatment. We will be happy to come to your home and provide you with a complimentary no charge test of your drinking water. No matter what your needs may be, we can help you to understand them, we can help your protect yourself and your family. Most important, no matter who does the testing, be sure to test what's called first-draw water — the stuff that comes out of your faucet when you first turn on the tap in the morning. If contaminants are leaching from the plumbing pipes into your water, the level of contamination will be highest after the water has sat in the pipes overnight. Although our experience strongly suggests that more than 90 percent of water systems in this country meet its water quality standards, several contaminants commonly make their way into even the safest water supply. These include viruses and other disease-causing organisms, chlorine by-products, industrial and agricultural pollutants, and lead. As experts in the field of making water safe, we still strongly urge testing and water filtration as the last line of defense in this process.

In concentrations of more than 15 parts per billion (ppb), lead can be very dangerous to infants and children, leading to delays in physical and mental development, neurological disorders, kidney disease, and learning disabilities. (Contaminants are measured by how many particles of the substance are present in a billion particles of water — 15 ppb means 15 particles of lead in a billion particles of water.) Have your water tested for lead if you have lead pipes or brass faucets (which may contain lead), and for copper if you have copper pipes. Lead solder could legally be used to join plumbing pipes until 1986, but lead is a concern even if you live in a brand-new home. Faucets and pipes are still allowed to contain as much as 8 percent lead and have been shown to leach the metal in significant amounts, particularly when they're new.The best news is that water filters or water purification systems are easily installed and serviced, and, should testing indicate your home is at a higher risk, whole-house filtration systems and reverse-osmosis water filters are available to make sure that no matter the concern, the quality of your water is not one of them. With over 15 offices across Canada, Eagle Water Treatment Systems is pleased to supply, install and service water treatment systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications. Call Eagle Water Treatment today at 1-800-363-6365 (Quebec Head office) or 1-866-427-7757 (for Ontario residents).