Water-Sample Testing For Your Peace of Mind


Pollution has a major effect on the quality of drinking water. Public drinking water undergoes tests and monitoring that are reported to agencies to ensure it follows Canadian Drinking Water Standards. However, for those people who obtain their drinking water from a well or rainwater catchment, their water does not go through the same process as a community water system does, meaning they are solely responsible for the safety of their drinking water. In this case, a yearly water-sample test is recommended in order to establish a record of water quality.

Some may wonder if they should water-sample test their water more frequently. The answer is that it depends on several factors:

  • Where does your water come from? Is it a well or rain catchment that delivers your water? Each will have different parameters to sample for.
  • Who is using your water? If you have been living at the same location for years, your body is used to it and you may not experience adverse effects.
  • Have you experienced past water quality issues? If so, this will be an indicator for closer scrutiny.

If you are using a well:

There are 3 elements that affect 99% of all households that receive well water:                     Iron, Manganese, and Clay/Rock flour. It is vitally important to remove these elements. If not removed, they will affect the taste of your water, stain your laundry, leave brown iron or black manganese rings around toilet bowls, and also create deposits in your water pipes. If these are present, water-sample testing will determine the levels in your water.


By Confuciou – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8667102

If you are using rain catchment as your water source

Here you will more likely deal with animals (insects, birds, rodents that may have entered the pipes leading from your roof to your cistern), dirt and organic matter (leaves, pine needles etc.) that have accumulated on the roof and in gutters. In pollen season (various times in spring – can least up to several weeks each time) you need to remove the pollen. If the pollen has a chance to mix with rainwater, it will form a glutenous sticky mess that will stink like a septic system. In summer you have to check for algae growth (especially if your cistern is light in colour and is exposed to direct sunlight).

By Robert Gensch

Rainwater Catchment System – Photo by Robert Gensch

A water-sample test may be especially necessary if you have a baby – or are expecting one. If a resident of your household is in the early months of pregnancy, it is wise to test for nitrates in the spring or summer, and before bringing the baby into the house. You should also test for nitrates again during the first 6 months of the baby’s life to ensure his or her safety. For women in the household who are pregnant or nursing, a water-sample test may be necessary more than once a year, especially if you notice a change in taste, odor, or clarity of the water.

If your summer guests are complaining about upset tummies & diarrhea, it may we wise to test your water. You not noticing the same symptoms may be due to the fact that your immune system has adjusted to whatever might be in your water over time.

If you have had water issues in the past, you should conduct a water-sample test regularly. Differences in taste and odor indicate that contaminants such as iron, manganese, nitrates, etc. may have drastically changed and should be checked.

Water pollution and contamination is an important issue, both for those who get their drinking water from a public water system and for those who obtain it from a private source. The water testing works well to put consumers at ease about the safety of their water, especially if they have household concerns and past water issues.

Most of the time, there are in excess of 300 boil water advisories in British Columbia – find out details at www.watertoday.ca

Make sure you are not a victim. Know what is in your water system, so you can be assured that your water is safe for you & your family 24/7. boy drinking from water bottle Take pro-active action by contacting us today. We can eliminate the contamination & disinfect your cistern, house water piping and the water contained in the cistern.

Health Canada Guidelines:

Maximum recommended contaminant levels in drinking water (units of mg/L)
ElementMax. Level
Colour (TCU)<16
Turbidity (NTU)0.1
Total Coliform< 1
Fecal Coliform< 1
HPC< 200

Have you had your water tested recently?

The Gabriola Groundwater Management Society does water testing on Gabriola. Bottles with instructions can be purchased at Arbutus Building Supplies ($25 includes the testing).

For more detailed tests, you will need to go off-island…

Maxxam Analytics (former North Island Labs) will do water testing as well. Please note: their Nanaimo location is closed now. Water samples will have to be brought to either Courtenay, Victoria or Burnaby. Please follow the link for more information.