Explained in 60 seconds: Should You Have Your Drinking Water Tested?

Explained in 60 seconds: Should You Have Your Drinking Water Tested?

Help keep your drinking water safe!
well owner drinking water


Private well-owners

The HSE recommends that private wells should be tested at least once a year for microbial contamination and at least once every three years for chemical contamination. Private wells can become easily contaminated by both human and animal wastes, land-spreading or run-off from surrounding land. If you have concerns about the quality of your water, ensure you get it tested by an accredited laboratory. As it only takes a small number of E.coli (VTEC) to cause severe human illness, it is vital to protect, maintain and, if necessary, treat well water.

EPA protect your wells

Those who notice changes in their water

A physical change in water could signal contamination. If your water becomes discoloured, it could mean surface water is getting into your water supply. However, even if your water looks, tastes and smells normal, this does not always mean it is safe to use. Certain contaminants, such as E.coli, have no odour or taste and can present in your drinking water.

New and young families

Babies, young children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to lead in water. 

  1. Developmental Stage: Infants and young children are in critical stages of growth and development. Their bodies and nervous systems are rapidly developing, making them more susceptible to the harmful effects of lead exposure. Lead in drinking water can interfere with the development of the brain and nervous system, potentially leading to long-term cognitive and behavioral issues.

  2. Increased Absorption: Children tend to absorb lead more efficiently than adults. A higher percentage of ingested lead is absorbed into their bloodstream, increasing their exposure levels.

  3. Hand-to-Mouth Behavior: Babies and toddlers often engage in hand-to-mouth behavior, such as putting objects or fingers in their mouths. If their hands come into contact with lead-contaminated water or surfaces, they can ingest lead particles, further increasing their exposure.

  4. Low Body Weight: Children, especially infants, have lower body weights compared to adults. This means that even relatively small amounts of lead can have a more significant impact on their overall lead burden.

  5. Pregnant Women: Lead exposure during pregnancy can have serious consequences for both the developing fetus and the mother. Lead can cross the placental barrier, potentially harming the developing fetus. It can also affect the health of pregnant women, leading to complications during pregnancy.

  6. Breastfeeding: If a mother is exposed to lead through water or other sources, she can pass lead to her baby through breastfeeding, further increasing the child’s exposure.

  7. Long-Term Effects: Lead exposure in early childhood can have long-term health effects, including learning disabilities, developmental delays, and behavioral problems. These effects can impact a child’s quality of life and future opportunities.


Home owners and home buyers

Lead can leach into water from lead plumbing and lead piping. “Lead pipes are not usually found in buildings built since the 1970’s. However, lead solder and lead fittings may have been used in more recently-built buildings. The chances of lead getting into drinking water from lead pipes and lead plumbing can depend on the chemical make-up of the water. Some types of water such as soft water and warm water can pick up lead more easily.” (HSE) Lead was also used in water mains pipes. While most of these have been replaced, some lead pipes remain.

Getting your drinking water tested…

Southern Scientific Services Ltd. provides accredited drinking water analysis approved by Irish Water and based on EU Drinking Water Regulations.

Contact Southern Scientific Services for more testing services or to test your home water supplies. If you want more information on drinking water tests follow the link -> Your Drinking Water: 12 Parameters To Help You Understand How Safe It Is

Find out more about our drinking water tests here.


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