Affordable Water Quality Testing: WaterTest Corporation Makes a Breakthrough

If you suspect your drinking water is contaminated, WaterTest offers the first reasonably priced way to have it thoroughly tested.


| September/October 1983



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Here's Doug at the flame atomic absorption spectrometer.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

If you pay any attention to the media, you probably know that the quality of our drinking water is increasingly threatened by the waste products of our society. And of course, MOTHER has been sounding that alarm since her first issue was published almost 14 years ago.

Amazingly enough, however, those public agencies that are charged with the responsibility for protecting our precious water supplies are still largely ineffective at accomplishing that task. Therefore, despite a few well-heralded attempts at restricting pollutant emissions from major chemical dumpers, there is next to no guarantee that your private (or even municipal) water supply is safe to drink.

And compounding that problem, local and regional health departments are capable of performing only the most rudimentary water quality testing for individuals. In MOTHER's own community, for example, the appropriate public agencies check only for bacteria and (in some cases) nitrates. This means that more than 120 of the Environmental Protection Agency's 129 "criteria pollutants" (those for which maximum contaminant levels have been or are to be set under the Safe Drinking Water Act) aren't even searched out.

However, this deplorable situation is not (entirely, anyway) the result of negligence. The fact is that testing for toxic metals, pesticides, organic chemicals, etc. requires sophisticated (and expensive) laboratory equipment and experienced technicians. For example, testing a water sample for traces of all of the 129 priority pollutants has generally cost anywhere from $700 to $1,200, a price that puts such a service beyond the finances of most individuals or—on a routine basis—even a government agency.

All of that has changed now, though: A New Hampshire-based laboratory, WaterTest Corporation, has automated the testing process (and combined some of the procedures in an ingenious fashion) to bring the price of a competent, thorough water quality test down to the incredible figure of $35 per sample!

How WaterTest Corporation Got Its Start

WaterTest Corporation got its start about a year and a half ago, when a New Hampshire citizen plagued with offensively smelly and discolored water made a phone call to his state's water quality laboratory. After a number of referrals, Gene Rosov ended up speaking with Dr. Donald Bent (who was director of that agency at the time) about the need for reasonably priced testing services for individuals.





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