Water Quality Tests

Does anyone know of a standard report format for Water Quality Tests? I just started doing these tests, and just received my first Lab Analysis, which is not very informative. The lab report just gives the test results, the unit of measure, and the EPA standard, but does not expalne the the affects of each.

I am looking for some information, so I can interpret the results and relay them to the homeowner.



What are you testing for chemicals or bacteria tests? Perhaps the lab supplying the results would have the acceptable minimums? I concur the results don’t mean diddly if there are no baselines.

Here is an example…I omitted the testing address.


Go to www.epa.gov/safewater I printed their chart which gives you the levels, potential health effects and common sources. the chart is at www.epa.gov/safewater/mcl.html Hope this helps.


Thanks, Bill!! That helps a great deal.


Hello Mr. Richardson:

Sometimes just submitting the US EPA’s water quality standards should be enough of an interpretation, without you having to go out on a limb with your own interp.

Certainly that should be the case for the majority of contaminants. However, the interpretation of other parameters, such as odour, hardness, and taste can be much more subjective. For example, whereas nobody wants lead, and there an MCL for lead, some people like hard water (like me and home-brewers) and some like soft water.

I would recommend that you simply put together a table of water standards and include that with your water analysis results. (Remember the POWT facilities have different standards than wells).

Just my thoughts…

Caoimhín P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist

(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)


I would be very cautious about putting your spin on an analysis performed by a sub-contractor. In fact my agreement spells out in detail that I am not responsible for performance or results of sub-contractors (labs or pest control companies).

Would you dare to provide pest control inspection results to your client because you didn’t like the pest control company’s format? What about radon? It would seem that if “you” provided a report about the results of a lab analysis, “you” would assume some liability. I would consider finding a new lab, instead, if their report isn’t satisfactory.


I get your point, but do not agree entirely. I am not putting “my spin” on the test results…I am merely providing my client with educational resourses in order for them to interpret the readings. If they are getting a sheet with a bunch of numbers, then what does that really mean to them?

I agree with finding a different lab, but do not know of one that will provide a detailed report on the findings, do you?

If my client is paying me a couple of hundred bucks to conduct a Water Quality Analysis, then I think I can help them interpret the readings. I believe that is part of my job.



have you looked into local labs for water testing? I can’t imagine that there aren’t some in the Kensington area. Of course, I don’t know that any lab will go much beyond just reporting the results.

I agree with Caoimhin and Bill, I think that providing a link to the EPA’s water quality standards would be helpful to the client, and I don’t think that that would open you up to much liability as long as you don’t try to spin or interpret beyond that.

Sorry, I don’t know any local labs where you are. However, here’s how I found them where I am: Both states I serve are regulated by state environmental agencies. I called them to get a list of certified laboratories (certified by the local regulatory agency). There were many on the list around where I live. However, there are many in the phone book that are *not *certified. I know there is no regulation that says a home inspector has to use a certified lab, but I make sure I do so. How else can you be sure the results are correct? (Acme labs, Inc. may actually be a setup in Bubba’s basement.)

My advice, if you are searching for a new lab is to ensure that they are certified for the parameters they are testing for (or that they sub it out to a lab that is certified).