Since you are on this page, it is likely that you are already interested in tap water testing in London but need more information on the pros and cons or how to go about doing this. So there we go, read on and we might just be able to change your mind that regular water testing is vital to keeping in good health nowadays.
Knowledge is king – testing your water is essential to understanding the levels of impurities present. The Thames may not look like the cleanest river flowing through a European capital, but the water there goes through multiple filtration stages before it gets to your tap. But more of that later on in the article. By conducting regular water tests, we are able to pinpoint problems that may otherwise go undetected and ensure a safe water supply to our families and loved ones.
“A problem well stated is a problem half solved.”
– John Dewey
1. Water quality in London and its impact on health
The water quality in London is becoming an increasing concern. You may not be over the moon to know that actual sewage still directly enters The Thames at certain points, however the occasional pungent smell might have given that away…
Nonetheless, ensuring that water is safe to drink is essential for protecting public health, and water testing by authorities such as the DWI and water companies is regularly performed to assess contamination levels. Water-borne infectious diseases from sewage pose a significant risk if the water is not correctly treated prior to reaching consumers. It is therefore crucial that potable water used for drinking and food preparation meets safety guidelines, especially during periods of increased demand such as hot weather. The high temperatures can make it more likely for bacteria to grow and accumulate in water reservoirs. What is the solution? That’s right – Getting your London water tested.
The Environmental Agency does conduct regular water testing. However, while this is done on a macro level, it is more difficult to identify problems in a very localised area, unless us, the consumers also take part of this responsbility.
Furthermore, one of their recent reports concluded that only one out of London’s 41 water bodies (including rivers and lakes), is classed as “good”, leaving there huge room for improvement.
Another potential problem with London’s water supply is the total hardness of the water. In fact, London has some of the hardest water in the UK. This means that it is high in minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium. These two are the main components of limescale, which is a common problem for London residents. Our essential tap water testing package offers water hardness testing, as well as giving you the level of individual calcium and magnesium in your water sample.
Some scientists say that hard water is actually good for you, as this prevents future osteoporosis and bone problems. However, high calcium inside the body can also increase the risk of vascular disease and kidney stones so the jury is still out.
What I would say is that if you are known to be prone to cardiovascular problems, or have a significant family history, hard water is probably not going to help lower your future risks.
2. The sources of drinking water contamination in London
The sewage system in Inner London was essentially built around Victorian times. Although improvements have been gradually made since, the majority of rainwater is actually still mixed with sewage and other ‘dirty water’.
Another reason for water pollution in London can be “misconnections“. This is commonly seen and it happens when rainwater (from gutters for example) is set to drain in the wastewater pipe (from toilets, baths or basins) or vice versa. This would often happen in the terraced or semidetached houses if ‘improvements’ were made by rogue tradesmen. It could be intentional or even unintentional as they may not realise it.
Correcting misconnections is solely the responsibility of the owner. This often tends to be ignored because too many people do not realise the problems this can generate for the overall water quality.
Lead in water pipes can also be a health hazard if your house has been built before the 1970s and the pipes have not been replaced. Doing a lead water test is therefore encouraged if you think your house or flat may be affected.
Agriculture runoff is another source of water contaminants in London. Although the inner city would not seem to be directly affected by farming done up in Hertfordshire or The Midlands, remember that once fertilisers, herbicides, and insecticides enter the water table, they don’t just go away. The chemicals can simply seep into the soil and slowly but surely find their way to a river tributary that ends up in The Thames.
Furthermore, the run off from agriculture is thought to be the single largest threat to River life and potable drinking water. Although there are widely circulated “Farming rules for water” from the UK Government, very few violations actually end up being prosecuted.
Last but not least, there is also now an increasing concern for PFAS contamination of our water drinking supplies. The DWI guidelines are that PFAS in the tap water supply should not be exceeding 100ng/L. However, do we even know enough about these forever chemicals to say what level is safe and what isn’t?
3. Importance of regular water testing in London
Regular testing of drinking water is important for several reasons. The last thing you want is to be drinking unhealthy tap water which may lead to you and your family becoming unwell a few years down the line.
Here are some of the reasons why you should test your London tap water.
- Health: Regular testing helps to ensure that the water supply is free from some of the harmful contaminants mentioned above.
- Early detection: Early detection of contaminants is better than curing a potential illness caused by them. By regularly testing your London water, potential issues can be identified and addressed before they become a larger problem.
- Water quality: Apart from the health reasons for water testing, it may also help you to know the actual quality of your water. Is there too much chlorine giving it a bad taste or smell? Is the high water hardness water affecting your appliances such as your dishwasher or washing machine? Regular testing can provide you valuable information on the quality of the water supply This would allow you to make adjustments to improve taste, odor, and overall water quality.
- Peace of mind: Regular testing can provide peace of mind if you and your family rely on the water supply.
4. The process of water testing in London and what to expect
We provide very straightforward water testing kits with next-day delivery in all London postcodes. Our tests are incredibly accurate, with limits of detection as low as 100ng/L depending on which contaminant you would like to test for. All our water samples are also analysed by UKAS/ ISO DWI certified labs so you know you can rely on the results.
You first choose which water test package you want for your London water. We offer both essentials and an advanced water testing package for your London tap water.
The former package tests for 36 analytes, including pH, alkalinity (water hardness), and the most common metals and inorganics.
35 Analytes Tested inc. Lead, Chloride, Fluoride, pH, Water Hardness and Nitrate
This is the test for your peace of mind and especially if you:
35 Analytes + Coliform Bacteria Tested
This is the test for you if you:
113 Analytes Tested (see below)
This is the test for you if you:
As you can see above, the advanced London water testing package tests for 110+ analytes, including the ones from the essential package, but also over 70 volatile organic compounds. These are typically industrial solvents found in paints for example, but also other by-products or constituents for example those found in fuels and cleaning agents.
If you live in London, and are expecting a baby, or have young children, I would suggest our custom “Baby Health Water Test Package“. This includes the contaminants known to cause health problems if in high concentrations, and also a coliform bacteria test for you to do at home.
In addition to the above, we are also excited to announce that you can now get your London water tested for PFAS in a UKAS certified lab. This consists of an analysis of 49 PFAS including GenX. All you need for collection are two special 200ml bottles that you fill with water and simply have them ready to be picked up by our courier.