Since water is such a vital component of our lives, it's important to know exactly what we are drinking. Potential contaminants can include microorganisms, viruses, protozoa, bacteria, metals and organic compounds from industrial processes. The Environmental Protection Agency water quality standards show the limits on the amount of contaminants allowed in tap water by public water systems. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration regulates commercial and bottled water.
When talking about water quality, the conversation is often focused on what should be removed from water. But, did you know that natural minerals dissolved in water are actually good for you and can enhance the flavor? Some of these naturally occurring minerals coming from the earth are iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc. Underground natural spring water dissolves these minerals from rocks and sediments.
What Is Water Quality?
When we talk about water quality, we are simply referring to the characteristics of water. These characteristics can be physical, chemical, biological or radiological. Often, water quality is used in reference to a standard compliance level of safe drinking water.
Water Quality Indicators
- pH - A scale that defines how acidic or basic a water-solution is.
- Alkalinity - The capacity of water to resist changes in pH.
- Total Suspended Solids - Visible particles that can make water appear smoky or hazy.
- Color - Caused by the absorption and scattering of light. Dissolved elements and suspended impurities can affect color.
- Total Dissolved Solids - The minerals and nutrients that water collects and which go undetected by sight.
- Turbidity - Cloudiness or haziness caused by light-reflecting particles in the water.
- Industrial Chemicals - Synthetically-produced chemicals used in agriculture and in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, chemical, and other industries.
- Transparency - How far light can penetrate a body of water.
- Organic Particulates - Biological elements such as microorganisms and/or waste.
- Taste and Odor
How to Test Water Quality
One of the simplest water quality testing methods is a water chemical analysis. Water samples are taken to determine levels of pH, total dissolved solids, turbidity, chloride, fluoride, nitrogen, nitrate, nitrite, sulfate, cyanide, phenolics, aluminum, bicarbonate, minerals, pesticides, herbicides, petroleum compounds and uranium. Other qualitative tests can be taken to determine smell, taste and color of water. Water color can indicate physical, biological or chemical conditions. For example, a green color may come from copper piping or algae growth.
While water should be devoid of dangerous contaminants, for maximum quality and flavor, it should still maintain its natural minerals and nutrients. In public water systems for tap water, sometimes these minerals are lost. In addition, while water products from reverse osmosis procedures can remove unwanted amounts of fluoride and chloride, they can also lose natural and beneficial minerals too.
Eldorado’s natural artesian spring water is not chemically treated in any way. The location and unique geological environment of our source produces contaminant-free water that maintains consistently high quality flavor, winning multiple awards for taste. But of course, we frequently test the quality of our water to ensure nothing has changed and to protect our customers and our good name.