Testing Your Drinking Water

Homeowners using wells, springs or cisterns should consider having their water tested if they are using this type of water supply.

Coliform Bacteria

Coliform bacteria is the most common water test done to determine the safety of private wells and springs. But what exactly are these bacteria and how can they be treated in private water systems? This fact sheet provides an introduction to the measurement, prevention, and treatment of coliform bacteria in drinking water.

Corrosive Water Problems

Corrosive water is a term used to describe “aggressive” water that can dissolve materials with which it comes in contact. While aggressive water is usually not dangerous to consume by itself, it can cause serious drinking water quality problems by dissolving metals from plumbing systems.

Hydrogen Sulfide (Rotten Egg Odor) in Pennsylvania Groundwater Wells

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a gas that gives water a distinctive “rotten egg” odor. It occurs naturally in groundwater as a consequence of the activities of sulfur reducing bacteria.

Iron and Manganese in Private Water Systems

Iron and manganese are metals that occur frequently in private water systems in Pennsylvania. In some parts of the state these metals exist naturally in groundwater that originates from certain types of rock.

Lead in Drinking Water

This publication answers common questions you may have about lead in drinking water. It also helps you determine if your drinking water contains too much lead and suggests ways to reduce lead in your water.

Nitrates in Drinking Water

You may be concerned about nitrates in drinking water after reading articles in your local newspaper on “blue-baby syndrome” (methemoglobinemia). Or perhaps you’ve just had your water tested and you want to know what the numbers mean.

Removal of Arsenic from Wells in Pennsylvania

Arsenic occurs in groundwater in Pennsylvania from both natural sources and manís activities. It is present naturally in certain rock types that are especially common in the western United States but also occur sporadically in parts of Pennsylvania.

Shock Chlorination of Wells and Springs

Shock chlorination is a simple and inexpensive process that can be used to disinfect water supplies that have been contaminated as a result of these one-time contamination incidents. When done properly, shock chlorination will kill all the bacteria existing in a well.

Water Softening

Soft water and hard water are common terms used in households across Pennsylvania. If you asked someone what these terms meant, you would probably get a definition based on how well the water cleans when used with detergents or soaps or what is left behind in tea kettles.

Penn State Extension Water Quality

Expert information and programs related to drinking water, water conservation, pond management, on-lot septic, non-point source pollution, water policy and watershed education.

Master Well Owner Network

We are a network of trained volunteers dedicated to promoting the proper construction and maintenance of private water systems in Pennsylvania and throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Ag Analytical Services Lab

Address

111 Ag Analytical Services Lab
University Park, PA 16802
Directions

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Ag Analytical Services Lab

Address

111 Ag Analytical Services Lab
University Park, PA 16802
Directions

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

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