A number of signs can indicate that your water is in need of quality testing. Changes in taste, appearance, or odor are common signs of contamination, but there are a number of contaminants that will not leave any signs at all, so it’s important to water test under the following conditions, as well; if you’ve moved into a new home or city, if you think your septic system may have malfunctioned, if your family continuously gets gastrointestinal illnesses, or if you have any infants living in your home. You will also want to test your water regularly to check the efficiency of any water treatment equipment you’ve installed.

For water testing recommendations specific to your area, you can contact the local health or environmental agency. Some regions are more at risk of certain contaminants than others and you will want to be privy to this information. Some region-specific markers are arsenic and radon, a gas that is a byproduct of radioactivity. You can also purchase at-home water testing kits relatively inexpensively or employ a professional from a water works facility. They can test your water professionally or help you to interpret the results of you own at-home test.

One of the first contaminant markers you’ll want to note is Coliform Bacteria. This marker is present when the water is contaminated by human or animal waste. The Total Coliform category is a broad one and is actually more harmless than it seems. The marker would need to be incredibly high to pose a threat worth noting. The importance of the marker is more as a place to begin, and to compare future water testing results against. If the number climbs, you may have a more significant matter that needs addressing.

Another important indicator is Nitrate. High levels of nitrate indicates a health risk threatened by contaminants of fertilizers, septic systems, animal manure, and sewer lines. It may also occur in nature as a breakdown process. With high levels of Nitrate, you are recommended to test for several other markers and not to use the water until the problem is completely resolved.

Other beneficial test conclusions will tell you the water’s PH balance, hardness, iron level, manganese, and sulfides that can corrode pipes and change your water’s odor. If your water appears cloudy, you notice marks on your fixtures caused by water, or your water treatment equipment stops functioning as it should, you should test your water and have it interpreted by a professional.


Being able to identify your wastewater might help you in the event that you have some kind of backup and flood situation. After reading this article, you’ll know how to handle each kind of wastewater and how to address a professional for his services to help you in the event you’ll need one.

Black Water

Black water refers to waste that is contaminated by human feces and urine. Black water comes from flushed toilets and may also contain toilet paper or anything that may have been flushed. Black water may also include food from the sink if it shares the same pipe lines. Raw sewage is also classified as black water. Black water waste is one of the most dangerous because it can contain bacteria and pathogens that should really be decomposed prior to being released into the environment. This is why we have wastewater treatment facilities, and why it’s so pertinent that we support clean water efforts around the world.

If black water has flooded your home or environment, it is as dangerous as we’ve mentioned in this article. Not only because of its contents, but because of the porous material around it that will absorb it and is nearly impossible to clean. Carpet, upholstery, and drywall are most often unsalvageable after a black water flood and will need to be safely removed and replaced by a professional. Pets and humans alike can become sick just from making skin contact with the waste, even worse if ingested somehow.

Contact a professional plumber or water restoration professional as soon as humanly possible to salvage any of your home’s materials. It cannot wait! Don’t attempt to remedy the situation yourself without an expert’s opinion. This mistake could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Grey Water

Those who own Rvs are familiar with the names of waste waters already because they have different tanks for each. Grey water refers to water that is not contaminated by human waste and is a separate water line that often connects to showers and bathtubs, washing machines, dishwashers and sinks. This water contains far less harmful substances and can be used for non-drinking purposes, such as to flush a toilet. It’s still not drinkable because it contains trace amounts of pathogens that can still induce illness when ingested.

Grey waters may flood due to an appliance or plumbing fixture being clogged and overflowed with material or water. It will penetrate carpet, furniture, and drywall, but you may attempt to salvage these materials, however, you should wear protective gear and keep pets and family from entering the vicinity during the project. Because of the mold inducing environment moisture causes, if you don’t attempt to clean the area immediately, it can quickly become as deadly as black water. You might still call a professional to salvage your home from the grey water’s consequences.

Clean Water

Clean water is water that is considered not an immediate health risk if you came into contact with it. It often occurs when toilet tanks or appliances malfunction and clean water comes out of its chambers. Generally, it is safe to attempt to clean up clean water messes yourself. Like all the other waste water types, you will want to start cleaning it immediately before the moisture causes something more dangerous or damaging.

Floodwater that does not post an immediate health threat is known as clean water. Seems obvious, right? Clean water floods can result from malfunctioning appliances, toilet holding tanks, and melting snow and rainwater. Clean water home floods are generally safe for you to clean up yourself, but remember–time is an important factor. Standing clean water can become greywater in as little as 48 hours.