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The Importance of Water Testing

The water that you use in your Weatherford, TX home is diligently tested for safety. According to the City of Weatherford, this testing checks for herbicides, pesticides, organic and inorganic contaminants, and various disease-causing microbes. By the time your water flows through your tap, it’s been deemed safe for bathing in, cooking with, and general consumption. Notwithstanding this fact, it’s still important to have your water quality independently tested. 

Where Your Water Comes From

Weatherford residents primarily receive their tap water from Lake Weatherford. However, nearby Lake Benbrook serves as a secondary source, particularly in times of drought. In its 2016 water quality report, the City of Weatherford published its “Superior” water quality rating. This report establishes that all drinking water, including local water supplies, has a diverse range of contaminants even if it has met and exceeded the federal and state standards for water safety. Among the contaminants identified by local water testing were:

  • Barium
  • Fluoride, both as an additive and as runoff from aluminum factories and fertilizers
  • Haloacetic acids
  • Chromium
  • Cyanide

This report also found trace amounts of lead, turbidity, and radium that were most likely caused by soil erosion and underground leaching. Moreover, Coliform bacteria was determined to be naturally present in both Lake Weatherford and Lake Benbrook and in municipal water supplies from these sources after municipal treatment. 

Factors Affecting Local Water Quality

Several activities throughout the region have an ongoing impact on municipal water supplies. In addition to farming operations and the related pesticide and herbicide use, there are nearby oil drilling operations, various factories, and several petroleum and metal refineries. 

To further compound local water quality concerns, multiple chemicals are added to fresh water before its distribution as a means of eliminating harmful biological contaminants. Even without the contaminants found in primary water sources, those who drink local water are exposed to chlorine, chloramine, and other sterilizing agents. 

Although these additions limit the likelihood of waterborne illness, they also have an adverse and cumulative effect on human health. At the very least, they are drying to the skin, hair, and nails. At worst, they may be responsible for minimizing beneficial mouth and gut bacteria and impeding natural immune system processes.

Acceptable Levels of Common Contaminants

Municipal water testing and the water quality regulations that are set at state and federal levels are based upon maximum concentrations for individual contaminants with most contaminants measured in either parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb). 

Cyanide registers at a whopping 74.9 parts per billion because of discharge from plastic, fertilizer, and steel factories. Although this measurement doesn’t raise any red flags for regulators, it might not sit well with you. In short, although acceptable maximums have been established by government agencies, they aren’t always in line with what consumers want for their health.

The Effects of Exposure Are Cumulative

For decades, if not longer, consumers have relied on regulatory bodies to protect their health by testing and mitigating waterborne contaminants. However, there are certain indisputable facts about contaminant exposure through drinking water that are rarely considered. 

Foremost among these is the fact that some contaminants have a cumulative impact on human and animal health. Thus, even if these contaminants are only present in local water supplies in very minute amounts, consumers are bathing in them, cooking with them, and drinking them daily. The results of this use are both progressive and ongoing. As such, you might not want these toxins in your home’s water supply at all.

Waterborne Contaminants and Those Who Are Immunocompromised

The City of Weatherford issued a special notice in its 2016 water quality report concerning the impact of water quality on those who are immunocompromised or otherwise dealing with immune system problems. This includes infants, aging adults, people with HIV or AIDS, and people undergoing chemotherapy. 

According to this notice, consumers with low-functioning immune systems may be especially vulnerable to trace contaminants found in their drinking water. For this and many other reasons, knowing exactly what’s in your home’s water supply could be vital for protecting your health and the health of your loved ones.

How Your Plumbing Can Impact Your Home’s Water Quality

The City of Weatherford obtained its “Superior” water quality rating from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). If you aren’t worried about contaminants that are measured in either ppm or ppb, you can rest assured that your municipality is doing its part to deliver clean, healthy drinking water to your home. 

However, local water quality reports don’t account for the role that aging pipes and defective plumbing systems play in degrading and contaminating potable water as it travels to the tap. If you have an older home with a plumbing system that hasn’t been updated in decades, you might discover with private water testing that you and your loved ones are regularly consuming substantial amounts of lead. Many plumbing fixtures, pipe solders, and pipe fittings manufactured and installed more than 30 years ago contain lead. In fact, prior to 1986, these materials were considered to be entirely lead-free as long as their lead concentrations were less than 8%.

Aging pipes are also vulnerable to corrosion. If your water looks off, smells off, or tastes strange, you may be drinking rust, sediment, or compounds that are leached from your pipes as water flows through them. The only way to identify household-specific contaminants like these is by scheduling independent water testing.

What You Can Accomplish by Scheduling Water Quality Testing

Scheduling private or independent water quality testing for your home can help you accomplish many things. To start, you’ll have a better idea of the exact contaminants that you’re showering in and consuming. Certain contaminants that may be present in your tap water aren’t even tested by municipalities. Because of building-specific and various external factors, others could be found in concentrations that are markedly higher than those listed in the latest Weatherford water quality report.

Private testing will give you insight into how an aging or new plumbing system is impacting your water quality as well. It will also tell you whether or not your water is excessively hard and merits the installation of water-softening equipment.

Establishing a Needs-specific Plan for Improving Your Water Quality

The greatest benefit of having your water quality tested is being able to establish a needs-specific plan for improving it. Our water quality reports are designed to help homeowners make informed decisions about their properties, their plumbing systems, and their health. This way, any improvements that they make provide the desired outcomes.

Whether caused by residual contaminants in municipally treated water or an aging or defective plumbing system, many symptoms can manifest when exposure to waterborne contaminants is high or when exposure is prolonged. These include dry skin, scalp, and eyes, hair loss, recurring headaches, respiratory troubles, and lowered immunity among many other things. Private water quality testing will give you the information you need to better protect the health of everyone in your household.

We’re committed to helping residents of Weatherford, TX stay safe. In addition to first-rate heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical services, we also provide water quality testing and advanced water quality solutions. To schedule a water quality test for your home, give Lightfoot Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical a call today.

Meet the Author
Gary Lightfoot

With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Gary Lightfoot took over his family business and continues to run it with the values and standards set 35 years ago

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