Primary Drinking Water Quality Tests

Possible Cause of Contamination
Potential Health Effect
Coliform bacteria
Coliforms are naturally present in the environment. Useful as an indicator that other potentially harmful bacteria may be present.
E. Coli bacteria
E. Coli comes from human and animal fecal waste. Gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)
Antimony (An)
Discharge from petroleum refineries, fire retardants, ceramics, electronics, or solders. Increase in blood cholesterol, decrease in blood glucose.
Arsenic (As)
Erosion of natural deposits, runoff from glass and electronic production wastes. Increased risk of cancer, skin damage, circulatory problems.
Barium (Ba)
Discharge of drilling wastes, discharge from metal refineries, erosion of natural deposits. Increase in blood pressure.
Beryllium (Be)
Discharge from metal refineries and coal-burning factories, dischagre from electrical aerospace and defense industries. Intestinal lesions.
Cadmium (Cd)
Corrosoin of galvenized pipes, erosion from natural deposits, discharge from metal refineries, runoff from waste batteries and paints. Kidney damage.
Chromium (Cr)
Discharge from steel and pulp mills, erosion from natural deposits. Allergic dermatitis (occurs after multiple years).
Copper (Cu)
Corrosion of household plumbing systems, erosion from natural deposits. Gastrointestinal distress.  Long term exposure could lead to liver or kidney damage.
Fluoride (F)
Water additive which promotes strong teeth, erosion of natural deposits, discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories. Bone disease (pain and tenderness), children may get mottled teeth.
Lead (Pb)
Corrosion of household plumbing systems, erosion of natural deposits. Delays physical or mental development in infants and children, kidney problems and high blood pressure in adults.
Runoff from fertilizer use, leaching from septic tanks, sewage, erosion of natural deposits. "Blue baby syndrome" in infants under six months, which is life threatening without immediate attention.
Selenium (Se)
Discharge from petroleum refineries, erosion of natural deposits, discharge from mines. Hair or fingernail loss, numbness in fingers or toes, circulatory problems.


Secondary Drinking Water Quality Tests

Aluminum (Al)
Colored water.
Chloride (Cl)
Salty taste.
Copper (Cu)
Metallic taste, blue-green staining.
Fluoride (F)
Tooth discoloration.
Iron (Fe)
Rusty color, sediment, metallic taste, reddish or orange staining.
Manganese (Mn)
Black to brown color, black staining, bitter metallic taste.
If the pH is low - bitter metallic taste, corrosion.   If the pH is high - slippery feel, soda taste, deposits.
Salty taste.
Hardness, deposits, colored water, staining, salty taste.
Zinc (Zn)
Metallic taste.