Drinking Water Testing & Analysis

Drinking water testing

Specialist drinking water testing and analysis

Water Treatment Services is a leading water, air and environmental specialist offering expert laboratory services including drinking water testing and analysis of both mains fed (tap water) and private water supplies to organisations and private individuals throughout the UK and Ireland.

Our potable water analysis procedures incorporate tests for metals and heavy metals, chemical and microbiological analysis, and in-field sampling services.

Why test drinking water?

When was the last time that you had the quality of your tap water tested? Here in the UK, our water utility companies have to conform to strict water quality standards set by the Government, and enforced by the regulator, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). These standards ensure that the water flowing through the mains distribution system is up to scratch at all times. However, once the water leaves the mains supply and enters a private residence or commercial building, the pipes, storage tanks, local distribution systems and other factors can start to affect the quality of the water. There are also properties, mostly in remote locations, which depend on other types of private water supplies such as springs, boreholes, rivers, lakes or wells and people using these types of supplies may need to carry out their own drinking water testing too.

Specialist drinking water testing & analysis

Our specialist laboratory based drinking water tests and water quality analysis solutions include:

  • Laboratory Water Testing & Analysis

    Specialist laboratory analysis of drinking water for metals, chemicals and microbiological parameters.

  • Mains Fed Tap Water Analysis

    Specialist suite of tests covering metal and chemical parameters specifically for mains fed water systems.

  • Private Water Supply Testing

    Specialist suite of tests covering metal and chemical parameters specifically for private water supplies, wells and borehole fed water systems.

  • Microbiological Water Analysis

    Specialist analysis for a range of microbial parameters including coliforms, E. coli, total viable count (TVC), enterococci, sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB), legionella and pseudomonas.

  • Monitoring & Validation

    Latest laboratory and in-field water analysis equipment to monitor and validate water treatment programme performance against regulatory standards.

  • In-field Sampling.

    Expert in-field water sampling.

Full national UK coverage

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers, water treatment specialists and technicians we can offer professional, cost effective drinking water testing, in-field water sampling and laboratory analysis services across the UK and Ireland.

Contact WTS today to learn how our water quality analysis solutions can help identify contamination issues. To speak with one of our water testing experts call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use this button.

What can contaminate tap water?

If you are supplied by a water utility company and are concerned about what might be getting into your water between it leaving the public mains and coming out of the taps in your property, then a good place to start is by looking at how you treat your water, the type of water distribution systems you have in your building, the materials that have been used (lead, copper, plastic etc.) to construct the system, especially the pipes carrying the water and any water storage tanks.

Older domestic and commercial properties which have not been renovated since 1970 might have lead pipes either in the kitchen, bathrooms, or elsewhere in the property on the route the water takes to the tap.

Lead was a common material used for pipes and plumbing installations pre-1970 and can cause serious health issues, especially in children and pregnant women. If water testing identifies that lead is contaminating your water and is present at higher than the prescribed limits, you should take prompt action to replace the pipes. Other common drinking water contaminants are corrosion by-products, most often caused by copper corrosion or cast iron pipes rusting and leaching iron particles into the water supply. If this is happening, the water way contain increased levels of iron, copper or even manganese which can all lead to discolouration of the water and unsightly surface staining of baths, sinks, WC’s, pools and spas.

There are several microbiological contaminants that can also affect water quality including Legionella bacteria and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacterium will typically colonise a buildings local water distribution system and, under the right circumstances can cause serious health issues.

Testing private water supplies

If your water comes from a private water supply such as a well, spring, borehole or river, it is unlikely to have been through the intensive water treatment processing stages used by the water utility companies to filter and disinfect our mains drinking water. In the worse case scenario, this could mean that there are bacteria, viruses and a range of other chemical or metal contaminants in your water.

One of the main concerns when extracting from a private water supply is contamination with faecal matter, especially in rural and agricultural areas where the presence of animals and cattle may pollute local water courses. This can lead to dangerous contamination of the water by organisms such as E. coli and Salmonella. Other issues in such areas include contamination from elevated levels of nitrates, nitrites, sulphates and sulphides which can be caused by the intensive use of commercial fertilisers or sewage contamination.

Regular drinking water testing will help to make sure that the steps you are taking to treat your water are having the desired effect and that any unwanted contaminants are maintained within the safe limits set out by the government. If you are living or working in a property with a private water supply, testing the supply might be something you do on a regular basis.

Drinking water testing

If you are testing drinking water for just one contaminant, such as lead or bacteria, then you might choose to use simple test strips or dip slides which you can dip in to the water to get your result. These are a quick and cost-effective way of testing your water but with one obvious drawback – you might get an answer about one type of contaminant but be completely unaware of other serious issues with your water. We recommend it’s better and safer to have your tap water tested by the experts at WTS, who can run a series of specialist drinking water tests in the laboratory to identify a range of specific microbiological, metal and chemical contaminants in your water, and determine at which levels they are present. These results would then be compared to the standards set out in the governments Water Supply Regulations, and a report produced. The report will flag up those contaminants which are of particular concern, allowing you to target your efforts to reduce risk.

Standard compliance suite of tests for potable (drinking) water

Our standard compliance suite of tests for potable (drinking) water is highly recommended and provides an excellent indication of overall water quality for general potable applications. This compliance suite includes for the following tests:

  • General colony microbial counts after 2 and 3 days
  • Clostridium perfringens (confirmed)
  • Total coliforms
  • E.coli
  • Conductivity
  • pH
  • Turbidity
  • Ammonium
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • Odour
  • Taste
  • Aluminium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Colour

Mains fed water testing & analysis (chemical & metal)

Our standard suite of chemical and metal parameter tests for mains fed water supplies would typically include:

  • Chloride
  • Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Alkalinity
  • Manganese
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • TDS

Testing private water supplies & borehole water analysis (chemical & metal)

Our standard suite of chemical and metal parameter tests for private water supplies, wells, boreholes, lakes and rivers would typically include:

  • Chloride
  • Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Alkalinity
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • Sulphate
  • Sulphide
  • TDS

Drinking water treatment techniques

Once you have your detailed drinking water analysis report giving information about the quality of your drinking water and any issues which have been found, you can then make plans for improving the quality of your water… or where this is not possible, to look for an alternative supply.

The approach and water treatment techniques selected will depend very much on the types of contaminants which have been identified. For example, if high levels of bacteria have been found in the water, the advice might be to use UV light to kill off the bugs, or add a suitable, DWI approved disinfectant to the water supply to kill them that way.

If the issue is corrosion in the pipes causing the water to become discoloured, then replacing the pipes might be the only option. If other types of contaminants are found, you might be able to filter them out by adding a filtration system either at the point where the water supply enters the property, or directly adjacent to the taps used for drinking water.

However, it’s important to remember that there is no point making any of these changes before you know whether or not you have a problem with water quality, and that can only be determined by specialist drinking water testing.

On-going water quality testing & analysis

Once you have invested in the correct improvements to your water supply, it’s then essential to have the water retested in exactly the same way so that you get an accurate comparison of the water quality before and after. It may also be well worthwhile implementing a regular programme of water testing to ensure water quality is maintained consistently.

Specialist drinking water testing for metals, chemicals & microbial contaminants

Contact WTS today to find out more about our laboratory water analysis services including drinking water testing for mains fed and private water supplies, and in-field sampling services.

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained technicians, in-field specialists and consultants we can offer cost effective environmental support solutions across the whole of the UK and Ireland.

Contact us today for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.

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Further reading…

More information about drinking water quality in the UK … here →

Drinking Water Testing & Analysis
User Rating
5 based on 627 votes
Service Type
Drinking Water Testing & Analysis
Provider Name
Water Treatment Services,
14 Commercial Street,Manchester,United Kingdom-M15 4PX,
Telephone No.0330 223 31 31
United Kingdom & Ireland
Specialist drinking water testing & analysis of mains fed & private water supplies. Test for metals, heavy metals, chemicals & bacteria that can cause contamination.