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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Driveways, Pools & Outdoor Living > Water Testing and Treatment

Water Testing and Treatment Cost


How Much Does Water Testing and Treatment Cost?

 
low costWater Testing Kit: $10-$150average costLaboratory Testing: $50-$500+high costTreatment: $150-$6,000+
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Public water suppliers must test their water on a regular basis, so if a home is hooked up to a public system generally it's not necessary to test the tap water unless there's concern about rust or lead inside old pipes. If a house has a private drinking water source, like well water, it should be tested when the well is installed and periodically after that -- at least once a year or more often if there's an infant living in the home or if residents or guests have recurrent gastrointestinal problems. The water should also be tested any time the well is repaired or if there's a change in the water's taste, color or appearance.

Typical costs:

  • A simple home well water testing kit typically costs $10-$30, but can be $50-$150 for a larger kit (with up to 50 test strips/supplies). These kits may test for just one contaminant (like bacteria, nitrites or arsenic) or many. Kits are available from hardware stores like Ace Hardware[1] , big box stores like Target[2] and online retailers like Amazon[3] . For example, the WaterSafe WS425W Well Water Test Kit[4] typically costs $15-$25 and identifies dangerous levels of nitrates/nitrites; tests for 10 contaminants (including copper, iron and lead); and detects potentially harmful bacteria or the presence of pesticides or fertilizer. Laboratory analysis, an option with some test kits, typically costs an additional $30-$50 or more, depending on the number and type of compounds tested.
  • Expect to pay $10-$75 or more for a small digital or electronic water tester that measures total dissolved solids in the water to determine when to replace a filter in a water purifier or softener. For example, the TDS-3 Meter with Carrying Case[5] with an LCD screen and built-in digital thermometer costs $25-$35.
  • Having a lab test well water samples can cost a nominal fee at government or university labs, or $50-$500 or more for private labs, depending on the lab and the number and type of compounds tested. Water testing by a lab should include a written analysis of the results and clear recommendations. For example, the Indiana State Department of Health Laboratory[6] charges $16.50 to test for bacteria, fluoride/sodium and nitrates-nitrites. Water-Research.net[7] charges $40 for its basic bacterial package (total coliform, fecal coliform and fecal streptococcus) or $80 for a basic water chemistry package (pH, total coliform, nitrates/nitrites, total dissolved solids, conductivity, chloride/sulfate/chlorine and more) with an extra $15 each to test lead or arsenic levels. e-WaterTest.com[8] charges $187 for a 150-item test or $650 to check for 18 specific water parasites.
  • Treatment methods and costs vary significantly depending on the type of contaminants found. If the problem is bacteria, the American Ground Water Trust explains the general procedure for disinfecting well water using common household bleach. The Water Systems Council[9] estimates average treatment costs at: less than $150 for bacteria; $600-$2,000 for pH; up to $800 for fluoride, nitrate, nitrite, radium, sodium or uranium; $800-$3,000 for arsenic, copper or lead; $100-$4,000 for methane gas; $800-$4,000 for pesticides; $2,000 for hardness; $3,000 for iron, manganese or sulfur; $3,000-$4,000 for MTBE; $3,000-$6,000 for radon; and $4,000 for tannins.
Related articles: Water Softener, Burst Pipe, Well Drilling

What should be included:
  • It's impractical to test for all possible contaminants. At a minimum, well water should be tested annually for bacteria and nitrites, plus any contaminants of local concern such as total dissolved solids, pH levels, arsenic or radon. Determining which additional compounds to test for depends on how susceptible the well is to contamination. The test kit or lab will provide sampling bottles, and instructions. It's important to carefully follow instructions for collecting, storing and shipping (if required) the samples. Most labs mail back the results within a week or two. The New Jersey Department of Health provides detailed facts on private well testing[10] .
  • Treatment might include filtration, oxidation, ion-exchange, ultraviolet irradiation, aeration or pH neutralization, depending on the contaminants present. The American Ground Water Trust lists common problems and solutions for domestic water treatment for homeowners.
Shopping for water testing and treatment:
  • Testing kits are available in hardware stores and online. For laboratory testing, contact the local health department to see if it performs basic tests (typically for bacteria and nitrates/nitrites), or to obtain a list of state-certified laboratories that perform well water testing.
  • Treatment might include a water softener, a water filter or purifier, or other options. The testing laboratory or a water well contractor can recommend what's best for a particular problem. Search for local water well contractors through the National Ground Water Association[11] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.acehardware.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=water%20test%20kit&origkw=water%20test...
  2.  www.target.com/s/water+test+kit#keywords=water+test+kit&searchNodeID=1038576|1287991011...
  3.  www.amazon.com/s/=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=water+test+kit&x=0&y=0
  4.  watersafe-ws425w-well-water-test-kit.blogspot.com/
  5.  www.tdsmeter.com/products/tds3.html
  6.  /engineering.purdue.edu/SafeWater/drinkinfo/testwater.html
  7.  www.water-research.net/homeowner.htm
  8.  www.e-watertest.com/water-testing-order-aff.html
  9.  www.watersystemscouncil.org/documents/DrinkingWaterTreatmentsandCostsFINAL.pdf
  10.  www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/hhazweb/well.pdf
  11.  wellowner.org/
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