©2018 Mahoning Valley Water Inc.  WATER TESTING ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL           My water smells funny.  Can you fix it?  My water is staining my laundry.  What's wrong with it?  These are questions that can only be answered by testing the water.      Testing water is the first and most crucial step in solving water problems.  Water tests must be accurate as possible because treatment is based on the size of the problem.  As an example, iron may be treated at one level with a water softener.  At the next level it may be treated with an iron filter, and at the next level it must be treated with a chlorination system.      Looking into the back of a toilet tank, tasting the water, or smelling the water will not tell you how to solve your problem.  Accurate tests by Certified Water Specialists will.      Mahoning Valley Water takes great pride in being able to offer our customers the most comprehensive water testing analysis in our area by a private water treatment company.  Except for lead and bacteria testing, all our water tests are free of charge.      The following is a brief description of the different water testing procedures we perform: HARDNESS           Water hardness is tested using a drop titration method.  A chemical is placed into a measured amount of water and a titrant solution is added a drop at a time until the water turns from pink to blue.  Each drop counts as one grain of hardness.  The EPA standards on hardness are:                                         Less than 1           Soft                                         1.0 - 3.5                 Slightly Hard                                         3.5 - 7.0                 Hard                                         7.0 - 10.5               Very Hard          IRON           Iron is tested in parts per million (ppm) using the color disc method.  A chemical is placed into a measured amount of water and if any iron exists in the water, the chemical will cause a reaction and will turn the water orange.  The amount of iron in the water is tested by using a color comparator wheel.  The EPA standard on iron is 0.3 ppm because at this level iron will cause staining, taste and odor problems.  TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS      Total Dissolved Solids is dissolved minerals and metals in the water.  Total Dissolved Solids (also known as TDS) is measured in parts per million using an electrical conductivity meter.  Due to the fact that it is unknown whether the minerals and metals in the water are harmful or not, the EPA has stated that water over 500 parts per million should probably be treated before drinking.  What may be harmful to some people may not be harmful to others.  We recommend that TDS levels be as low as possible. CHLORIDE      Chlorides are tested using a drop titration method.  A chemical is added to a measured amount of water to turn the water yellow.  The titrant solution is added a drop at a time until the water turns a reddish brown color.  Each drop is counted as 20 ppm of chloride.  We then convert the total chloride count to sodium chloride.  The EPA has set the standard for chloride at 250 ppm. pH      pH (potential for hydrogen) is a measure of the acid or alkaline strength of a water supply.  The pH measurement scale is 0 - 14 with 7pH being neutral.  pH figures higher than 7 indicate alkaline solutions with the intensity of alkalinity increasing as the number becomes larger.  pH figures lower than 7 indicate acid solutions with the intensity of acidity increasing as the numbers go lower.  It is important to test for pH because almost all forms of water treatment are dictated by pH levels.  Different reactions may occur at some pH levels and some forms of water treatment may not even work at all without adjusting the pH of the water. CHLORINE      Chlorine is the most widely used disinfectant to ensure microbiologically safe water.  It is also a very strong oxidant which is used to oxidize iron and sulphur.  Unfortunately, chlorine reacts with organics that are naturally found in water and cause trihalomethanes (THM's).  THM's have been directly linked to rectal, kidney and colon cancers.  The EPA has set a standard for THM's at 0 ppm.  There is no standard set for chlorine itself.  Chlorine is tested using a color disc method.  A chemical is placed into a measured amount of water.  If chlorine is present in the water, the chemical will turn the water pink.  The amount of chlorine is tested in parts per million using a color comparator wheel. SULPHUR      Hydrogen Sulfide is a gas present in some waters.  There is never any doubt as to when it is present due to its offensive "rotten egg" odor.  Sulphur tastes bad, smells bad, and causes corrosion due to its activity as a weak acid.  High concentrations of sulphur are flammable and toxic.  While such concentrations are rare, their presence in drinking water has been known to cause nausea, illness, and in extreme cases, death.  We test sulphur using a chemically coated paper that reacts with sulphur when a strong effervescent is introduced into the water water.  The level of sulphur is compared to a color chart to determine the parts per million sulphur level. NITRATES      Nitrate nitrogen can result from seepage of water through soils containing nitrate-bearing minerals.  It may also occur as the result of certain fertilizers; however, nitrates are one of the products of decomposition of animal and human wastes.  Thus, the presence of nitrates in a water supply indicates possible pollution of the water.  In concentrations as low as 10 ppm, which is the standard the EPA has set, nitrate nitrogen has caused illness and even death among infants under a year old due to oxygen starvation.  This condition is known as methemoglobinemia or "Blue Baby Syndrome".  We test for nitrates by using the color disc method.  A chemical is added to a measured amount of water which will turn a yellowish-brown color if nitrates are present in the water.  The level of nitrates are determined by comparing the sample to a color comparator wheel. OTHER TESTS      Mahoning Valley Water also tests for copper, tannins, manganese and dissolved oxygen (if an indication of presence exists), at our facility in North Lima.       All of the aforementioned tests are completed by Mahoning Valley Water as standard testing at no cost to the consumer. LEAD      Lead is a highly toxic metal that in large quantities can interfere with the formation of red blood cells, reduce birth weight, cause premature birth, delay physical and mental development in babies and young children, and impair mental abilities in children in general.  In adults, lead can increase blood pressure and interferes with healing.  At very high levels, lead can cause anemia, kidney damage, and mental retardation.  Lead does not appear naturally in water.  Instead it results from leaching of lead solder joints, lead pipes in buildings, and lead service pipes from water mains.  The EPA standard for lead is 15 parts per billion.  We test for lead at our facility using the colorimeter method.  The fee for lead sampling is $25.00 per sample. COLIFORM BACTERIA      Coliform bacteria grow in the intestines of human beings and other warm-blooded animals.  Thus, the presence of these bacteria in water is accepted as proof that the water has been contaminated by human or animal wastes.  Testing for coliform is performed by a State EPA Certified Laboratory.  We collect the sample in a special container for delivery to the lab.  The lab places the water in a lactose culture and if coliform is present it will ferment and cause gas.  The fee for coliform testing is $50.00. MAHONING VALLEY WATER