Farm Water Testing: Understanding the Primary Analysis Parameters

The water quality in your farm is an important factor to consider and review regularly. This will determine the availability of nutrients in the water for irrigation of your crops. In addition, the quality dictates the suitability of the water for livestock watering and even general domestic usage. You should consider hiring a laboratory for water sampling and testing of your agricultural water sources. The assessment can be performed after specific intervals of time, or you can commission testing if you have concerns about contamination. Regardless of your purpose, it is important to understand the analysis report provided by the lab. Here are the primary water quality parameters to help you interpret the feedback.

Health Hazard Parameters

As implied, these water testing parameters are used to indicate the presence of contaminants that could have negative health effects after usage. The hazardous elements are usually from external sources, so their presence in your water means that your source has been polluted. In some cases, the contaminants might be in low concentration, which means that the percentage is harmless. Therefore, you should discuss the threshold for all health hazard pollutants if there are any in your supply. Common contaminants of concern under this category include lead, bacteria, radon, benzene and nitrates.

General Quality Indicators

The water supply in agricultural operations is not pure, and the type of pollutant in your property will depend on diverse factors. These can include the source, fertiliser usage, the livestock kept and the type of supply piping material. Therefore, testing for specific contaminants in your farm can be costly and time-consuming. The general quality indicator parameter is used to test for aspects that are symptoms of specific contaminants. In simple terms, the general water quality can tell you whether your water is polluted or not without expensive tests. In addition, the lab technician can narrow down the potential specific contaminants based on the results. The common indicators used are pH, turbidity and dissolved solids.

Nuisance Pollutants

The nuisance contaminant category is an important factor, even though it does not cause any harmful health effects. Basically, they will make the water less ideal for consumption and general usage, but they are not associated with illnesses. There are numerous types of nuisance elements of concern in farm water, including iron bacteria, copper, manganese and hardness. For example, iron bacteria will manifest in form of a brownish slime which can make livestock unwilling to drink. Copper will cause staining on the plumbing network and the contaminated water is often bitter.

For more information on water testing, talk to a professional.