IQA Home Inspections, Inc. does not have a water testing laboratory, but many of our Clients appreciate the added value of us facilitating a water test for them.  Procedures must be followed when preparing water samples for testing and samples must be submitted in a timely fashion.  While our Inspector is on-site we can collect the appropriate sample, prepare and store them properly, deliver them to the lab, and order the analysis for you.

Total Coliforms, E. Coli, Nitrates, and Arsenic

A normal well water test and an Oregon home sale requirement is testing for Coliform Bacteria, Nitrate, and Arsenic.  Total coliform counts give a general indication of the sanitary condition of a water supply.

  1. Total coliforms include bacteria that are found in the soil, in water that has been influenced by surface water, and in human or animal waste.
  2. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is the major species found in the fecal coliform group. E. coli is generally not found growing and reproducing in the environment therefore the presence of E. coli is considered to be a good indicator of fecal pollution and the possible presence of pathogens.
  3. Nitrates are natural occurring chemicals made of nitrogen and oxygen.  Much of the nitrate in our environment comes from decomposing plant matter, animal waste, and fertilizers.
  4. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in then earth’s crust.  It has no color, smell or taste.  As water flows through certain rock formation arsenic can dissolve and be carried into underground aquifers, which can lead to contamination in your well.  Long-term arsenic consumption can lead to a variety of negative health affects.

Pricing and lead times for water testing results vary depending on the testing required and also depending on whether or not the testing is ordered as part of a Home Inspection or another service that we’re providing. The standard test that is required for real estate transactions in Oregon and where a well is present can typically be completed in 5 to 7 business days.

Please contact us for more information.

The following information is from the EPA’s website.

Should I Have My Water Tested

The answer to this question depends on several factors. It concerns your health and the health of your family, so you need to know some basic facts. In addition to illness, a variety of less serious problems such as taste, color, odor and staining of clothes or fixtures are signs of possible water quality problems. Other things to think about include the nearness of your water well to septic systems and the composition of your home’s plumbing materials. This fact sheet provides information to help you decide whether or not to have your water tested, and if so, suggested tests for your situation.

Regardless of your water source, here are two situations that may require testing:

Do you suspect lead may be in some of your household plumbing materials and water service lines?  Most water systems test for lead as a regular part of water monitoring. These tests give a system-wide picture, but do not reflect conditions at a specific household faucet.

If you want to know if your home’s drinking water contains unsafe levels of lead, have your water tested. Testing is the only way to confirm if lead is present or absent.

Some faucet and pitcher filters can remove lead from drinking water. If you use a filter to remove lead, be sure you get one that is certified to remove lead by NSF International.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/safewater/lead, or call the Safe Drinking Water hotline at 1-800-426-4791

Are you considering a home water treatment unit?

Find out what is in your water and what you might want to remove before contacting potential dealers. Be informed so you can make the right decisions. To help you, please visit: www.epa.gov/safewater/faq/faq.html#hwtu and www.epa.gov/safewater/wot.

Public Water Systems

When you turn on the tap, where does the water come from? If you pay a water bill, you are purchasing water from a public water system, where your water is monitored, tested and the results reported to the federal, state or tribal drinking water agencies responsible for making sure it meets the National Primary Drinking Water Standards. Your water company must notify you when contaminants are in the water they provide that may cause illness or other problems. Most people in the United States receive water from a community water system that provides its customers with an annual water quality report, also known as a Consumer Confidence Report. Normally, you will receive it with your water bill once a year in July. The report contains information on contaminants found, possible health effects, and the water’s source. If you do not receive a report, contact your water company for this information.

Private Water Supplies

If your drinking water does not come from a public water system, or you get your drinking water from a household well, you alone are responsible for assuring that it is safe. For this reason, routine testing for a few of the most common contaminants is highly recommended. Even if you currently have a safe, pure water supply, regular testing can be valuable because it establishes a record of water quality. This record is helpful in solving any future problems and in obtaining

compensation if someone damages your water supply. The following items will help you determine when to test your private drinking water supply.

How frequently should I test?

Test water every year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids and pH levels, especially if you have a new well, or have replaced or repaired pipes, pumps or the well casing.

Do you expect to have a new baby in the household?

Test for nitrate in the early months of a pregnancy, before bringing an infant home, and again during the first six months of the baby’s life. It is best to test for nitrate during the spring or summer following a rainy period.

Do you have taste, odor and staining issues?

Test for sulfate, chloride, iron, manganese, hardness and corrosion, and every three years. If you suspect other contaminants, test for these also.

Have you had a chemical or fuel spill or leak near your water supply?

Test your well for chemical contaminants, such as volatile organic compounds. Tests can be expensive; limit them to possible problems specific to your situation. Local experts can tell you about possible impurities in your area.

Is someone in your household pregnant or nursing an infant? Are there unexplained illnesses in your family?

Do you notice a change in water taste, odor, color or clarity? You may need to test more than once a year.


Conditions or nearby activities

Recommended Test

Recurrent gastro-intestinal illness

Coliform bacteria

Household plumbing contains lead

pH, lead, copper

Radon in indoor air or region is radon rich


Scaly residues, soaps don’t lather


Water softener needed to treat hardness

Manganese, iron

Stained plumbing fixtures, laundry

Iron, copper manganese

Objectionable taste or smell

Hydrogen sulfide, corrosion, metals

Water appears cloudy, frothy or colored

Color, detergents

Corrosion in pipes, plumbing

Corrosion, pH, lead

Rapid wear of water treatment equipment

pH, corrosion

Nearby areas of intensive agriculture

Nitrate, pesticides, coliform, bacteria

Coal or other mining operation nearby

Metals, pH, corrosion

Gas drilling operation nearby

Chloride, sodium, barium, strontium

Odor of gasoline or fuel oil, and near gas station or buried fuel tanks

Volatile organic compounds (VOC)

Dump, junkyard, landfill, factory or dry-cleaning operation nearby

VOC, total dissolved solids (TDS), pH, sulfate, chloride, metals

Salty taste and seawater, or heavily salted roadway nearby

Chloride, TDS, sodium