Parameter Information

Total Coliform Bacteria – Indicator organism used to assess sanitary quality of water. Result must be 0 or Absent.

Alkalinity – Acid-neutralizing capability of water.

Ammonia – A gas that is an indication of organic waste.

Arsenic – Naturally occurring heavy metal found in some well waters.

Calcium – Naturally occurring mineral which is the primary component of hardness. Used in some road salts.

Chloride – A component of salt. High concentrations may taste salty and may cause corrosion of metals.

Chlorine – A disinfectant that may affect taste and/or odor.

Color – Color is considered an aesthetic problem and can be used to confirm problems such as high iron and/or manganese.

Conductivity – The ability of water to carry an electrical current. Directly proportional to amount of total dissolved solids.

Copper – Present in most home plumbing systems. Blue/green stains in sinks and tubs is a prime indicator of   copper corrosion, usually the result of low pH.

Hardness – Soft 0-60 mg/L; Moderate 61-120 mg/L; Hard 121-180 mg/L; Very hard >181 mg/L. To convert mg/L to   grains per gallon, divide by 17.1.

Iron – Naturally occurring element in well waters. May cause brown stains, discolored water, and bad taste.

Lead – Found in some plumbing fixtures, and older homes that may have used lead solder.

Magnesium – Naturally occurring mineral that contributes to total hardness.

Manganese – Naturally occurring element in well waters. May cause stains, bad taste and odor.

Nitrate – May originate from failed septic systems, agricultural run-off, organic decay, and excessive use of lawn     fertilizers.

Nitrite – An intermediate form of nitrate that is part of the naturally occurring Nitrogen Cycle.

Odor – The intensity of odor is reported in a threshold odor number, with zero indicating that no odor is present.

pH – Acid/Base determination.  Neutral is 7.0; Acidic is <7.0, Basic is >7.0.

Potassium – An abundant element generally found in water systems.

Sediment – A visual determination of the presence or absence of sediment in water.

Sodium – Found in most waters; component of salt. High levels may indicate road salt intrusion.

Sulfate – Widely distributed in nature and usually found in ground water.

Turbidity – The clarity or cloudiness of water.

MCL – Maximum Contaminant Level (or limit)

MRL – Minimum Reporting Level (the lowest we can report)

Any results that exceed the MCL, if one applies, will be flagged with a # sign.

The guideline of 20 mg/L for Sodium when exceeded does not require treatment of the water to reduce the levels to prevent adverse health effects on public health. Rather the guideline represents a level of sodium in water that physicians and sodium sensitive individuals should be aware of in cases where sodium exposures are being carefully controlled.

For further information please visit these web sites:


Information on private well water

Information on ground and drinking water

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