pool being tested for contaminants

Water Sampling


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We are certified to conduct sample collection and well water testing for real estate transactions by the Maryland Department of the Environment, and we follow the guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. We provide water testing for several types of real estate transactions, including: Conventional loans, VA loans, FHA loans, and Occupancy or use permits.

What Tests Should Be Conducted?

The buyer’s lending institution will most likely require that the well pass a water quality test prior to settlement. Most lenders require, at a minimum, testing for bacteria. Some lenders may require additional tests. Checking the lender’s testing requirements for each loan can help to avoid delays at settlement. Keep in mind that these tests are intended to ensure that the lender is not making a loan on a property with a faulty system in case they must repossess the property. Homeowners may also want their water tested occasionally for piece of mind.

What Are the Contaminants Typically Checked for Drinking Water?

  • Coliform bacteria/E.coli - <1/100 ml or absent (the < sign stands for less than and means not detected) Coliform bacteria are present in soils and E.coli in human and animal feces. The presence of these bacteria may indicate surface water intrusion contamination or contamination from a septic system. EPA considers them to be the indicator organisms for “safe” drinking water.
  • Nitrate - 10 mg/L
  • Nitrite - 1 mg/L Major sources of nitrates or nitrites in drinking water include fertilizer, sewage, and feedlots. Infants who drink water containing nitrates in excess of MCL may develop shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome.
  • pH - Recommended range for pH is 6.5 to 8.0; a pH of 7.0 is neutral. pH is a measure of how acid or alkaline the water is. Low numbers indicate acidic water and can be associated with corrosion problems, pin hole plumbing leaks and can contribute to high lead and copper levels.
  • Lead - 0.015 mg/L Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion of materials containing lead that are in the household plumbing such as lead based solder, brass and brass and chrome plated brass faucets. High levels may cause delays in physical and mental development in children. In adults it may contribute to kidney problems and high blood pressure.
  • Copper - 1.3 mg/L Water can be a significant source of copper intake depending on the pH of the water, the temperature of the water and the presence of copper pipes. Copper has toxic effects at high dose levels and may cause kidney or liver damage, but it is an essential element at lower levels.
  • Turbidity - 10 NTU Turbidity refers to the degree of cloudiness in water due to suspended particles. If turbidity increases after a rain, it can indicate that surface water intrusion is occurring in the well. High turbidity levels are sometimes associated with disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites, and bacteria.

Fees and Collection

There are strict parameters for the collection and documentation of the water samples. The samples must be received and tested by the laboratory within a set time period. This limits the days that sampling can be done. Fees occur in 3 parts: water collection, sample shipping, and laboratory tests.

  • Certified Water Collector Appointment -- $75
  • Shipping -- overnight, iced samples -- set by carrier – typically $60.
  • Laboratory fees --- charge is by test, typically $40 each test.

Swimming pool water is sampled on site for typical issues or for more complex testing, collected and sent to the laboratory. Similar fees apply.

Proudly Serving the Following Areas:

  • Anne Arundel County
  • Calvert County
  • St. Mary’s County
  • Charles County
  • Prince George's County
  • Other Maryland counties are available

Check with us for the full realtor package of termite, well and septic inspections.