Why Indicator Testing Makes Sense


What You to Need Know About Testing Your Drinking Water! 

If you’ve done any research on the Internet looking for professional laboratories that will let you send your water samples to them for testing, you will see most of them stress the number of contaminants they test for. Based on what they are saying, you would come to believe that more is better… 

But, we are here to tell you…

…“That ain’t necessarily so.“

People have their water tested for a variety of reasons…

    • Some are just curious about the quality of their water,
    • others are concerned about specific problems with the supply because of something contaminating water in their area,
    • health problems they have,
    • information they’ve read, or
    • see about dangerous contaminants in water.

This begs the question of what you should test for in your drinking water, and how often water supplies, especially private wells, should be tested.

Having tested more than 65,000 wells over 30 years, we have become pretty expert in these areas. 

The most common contaminant in well water is some form of bacteria.

Because bacteria are always present at some level in groundwater systems, it is a good idea and is highly recommended by most authorities that private wells be tested and treated annually for this type of contamination.

lab testing

Secondary Contaminants

Other than bacteria, the most common form of contamination, are from parameters that are called secondary contaminants. These affect things such as taste, color, and clarity of water, and can affect  infrastructure items such as water pipe corrosion and plumbing fixture staining. By and large, they are usually related to esthetic concerns. Parameters such as iron, pH, total dissolved solids etc. fall into this category. These parameters are usually tested for when a well owner has a specific concern related to esthetics and wants to find a suitable treatment system.

So where does that leave people on well systems and their testing requirements?

We strongly believe in what’s called essential indicators water testing

“What is essential indicator testing?” you ask.

It’s usually not necessary to test for every parameter that most laboratories try to sell you as being necessary.

  • First it’s very expensive. Laboratories that offer 100 or 200 parameters for a very low price are often not honest about the quality or the methodology used in performing the test.
  • Secondly, quite a few of the parameters labs list in these large test packages are never found in normal water supplies. But there is a feel-good inference of quality when they offer these large numbers of test parameters.

We can offer this type of testing as well (and we do, if that’s what you really want–just go to this page), but we recognize that cost is a concern for many people… 

The Answer: ‘Bang-for-the-Buck’ Essential Indicators Water Test

That’s why we offer the ‘Bang-for-the-Buck’ Essential Indicators Water Test that screens for a combination of primary and secondary parameters at a very low cost.

We call this an indicator test because very often some of the rare contaminants that people are concerned about, such as some pharmaceutical contaminants, are present with one or more of the more common primary parameters. For instance, if a test shows a positive for chlorotoluene, the water can be treated for its removal. This also removes other related organics that may also be present. 

Indicator tests are very common in water analysis. 

The total coliform test used by most municipal water companies is an indicator test because if the test result is positive it can be assumed that the water may be infected with other bacteria, but the treatment is the same regardless.

Bottom line… 

Indicator testing

    • is less expensive,
    • more care can be devoted to the methodology used in testing
    • while providing the same benefit as testing for a much larger array of contaminants. 

Don’t be taken in by labs that try to extract more money from you by selling you on the hype that ‘SIZE MATTERS’, because that ‘ain’t necessarily so’.

Our ‘Bang-for-the-Buck’ Essential Indicators Water Test gives you the information you need to determine if you have a problem so you can treat for it, which would also treat for similar contaminants. By treating for the ‘indicator contaminant’, you get the same end results you would get if you had the lab test for all the other similar contaminants…

…but you’ve saved yourself a bunch of money, while still protecting you and your family! 

Note: New Jersey’s requirements for testing private wells (Private Well Testing Law), arguably the strictest in the U.S., calls for testing parameters that we include in our test. The state approves of these parameters as an indicator test for mapping groundwater quality in New Jersey.

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