At home fixes
What to do if the Drinking Water test kits identify unusual of contaminants?
Should your drinking water test outside the desired values on the previous page, then it is recommended to contact your local water supplier as soon as possible; or review your filtering system if you use water from a private source. Any form of consumption should be avoided, this is especially true for bacteria and metals contamination. It is always a good idea to ask a neighbour, to see if they have the same problem or if it is specific to your property. Damaged pipes, internal storage tanks or piping systems can also be causes for problems and it is useful to check whether the problem arises from the mains-fed cold tap (normally the kitchen tap) or via the storage system (check the bathroom tap).
Some simple actions can be taken immediately:
Lead: Flush your pipes before drinking – the more time water has been sitting in the pipes the more lead it may contain. Only use cold water for drinking or cooking, especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead. In the long term, look to replace any lead pipes.
Hardness and high pH: Invest in a water softener to reduce scaly residues and the amount of detergent required for washing clothes. But look out as essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium may be lost when the water is softened. In addition, most water softeners replace minerals with sodium which may have a negative effect on anyone who is on a sodium-restricted diet as well as babies who have a limited tolerance to sodium. Therefore, keep a separate unsoftened mains fed tap.
Chlorine: Chlorine plays an important part in ensuring that water stays clean whilst it is being delivered to the home (sanitising effect). There is no legal limit or guide value on the levels of chlorine, the levels however should be kept as low as possible whilst ensuring the quality of the water. Should you notice a smell or taste of chlorine occasionally, then this could also be due to maintenance work. Homes which are nearer to the water treatment facility then may notice the presence of chlorine more.
If you find the smell unpleasant you could fill water in a jug, then put it in the fridge to cool down before consuming it as cold water loses the smell of chlorine. Always remember to throw away any unused water after 24 hours and clean the jug regularly.
Bacteria: If you have followed the test procedure correctly and the test result shows positive, then there is a high chance that there is some contamination of coliform bacteria in the water. E.coli is one type of coliform, but this may not necessarily be in water sample. A positive test result should be followed up by further investigations into the cause and consumption of water should be avoided immediately.
High quality water filters, ionisers and reverse osmosis machines can also be used as additional water filtration system and can contribute to removing some of the most common contaminants. Filters can either be separate and portable or plumbed into the mains supply.
1. Always use freshly drawn cold water from the mains tap (usually the kitchen tap) for drinking or cooking.
2. Do not use hot water or water from your bathroom taps for drinking and cooking because it usually is not as fresh or as safe as water directly from the mains.
3. When water has not been used in the house for several hours (or days, ie. after a holiday), draw of a washing up bowl full of water rst. This way you avoid drinking water, which has been sitting in your pipes for a long time. You don’t need to waste any water, simply use it to water your houseplants or the garden.
4. If you notice a particularly bad or strong smell or taste, which makes your tap water unpalatable, or you notice a smell or taste, for the first time, which does not go away in a short time, then you should contact your water company immediately. Do not take any risks.