Water Quality Testing

IAQ Singapore's Water Quality Testing Service

What is Water Quality Testing?

Water quality testing is the process of analysing various physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water to determine its suitability for different purposes such as drinking, swimming or industrial use. It helps to assess the overall water quality in terms of health and safety.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), few million people die annually from waterborne diseases making infections contracted from contaminated water supplies a leading cause of illness and death worldwide. This helps to explain why not only the provision of safe and clean drinking water is important but the testing of drinking water is equally as important if not high priority for governmental agencies.

Qualitative and quantitative measurements of water samples are required to be conducted regularly to monitor the quality of water. Waterborne pathogens are one of the primary causes of international diseases and deaths.

Routine microbiological testing of drinking water supplies, recreational waters and environmental waters is essential for the protection of public health. Microbiological water testing is based on the detection of indicators of fecal contamination rather than specific pathogens.

Understanding the Importance of Water Quality Tests

General description of the significance of water quality tests usually made as follows:

Testing procedures and parameters may be grouped into physical, chemical and bacteriological categories.

Physical Tests

Physical Tests indicate properties detectable by the senses

  1. Colour: Observation of colour of water. Any significant discolouration may indicate the presence of contamination.
  2. Odour: Presence of unpleasant odour in the water. A foul odour may be an indication of contamination.
  3. Taste: Presence of abnormal or off-flavours. An unusual taste may indicate the presence of contaminant/s.

Chemical Tests

Chemical tests determine the amounts of mineral and organic substances that can affect water quality:

  1. pH: Measurement of acidity or alkalinity level of the water.
  2. Turbidity: Measurement of clarity or turbidity. Higher turbidity can indicate the presence of suspended particles or impurities in the water.
  3. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): Measurement of TDS concentration in the water.
  4. Residual Chlorine: Residual chlorine is the low level amount of chlorine remaining in the water after a certain period or contact time after its initial application. It constitutes an important safeguard against the risk of subsequent microbial contamination after treatment—a unique and significant benefit for public health.
  5. Heavy Metals: Heavy metals are natural components, testing for metals in water are important because heavy metals can pose a threat to human health.

Bacteriological Tests

Bacteriological tests show the presence of total bacterial counts and pathogenic bacterial contamination:

  1. Total Bacterial Count (TBC): Total bacterial count is an essential indicator test for detection of various microorganisms that can be found in water sample. It gives an insight into the general level of contamination within a water system and the overall quality of the water. Elevated levels of bacteria will warrant a further analysis to determine the presence of specific pathogenic bacteria.
  2. Pathogen Bacterial Identification Test: This is a test for specific bacterial pathogen. There are different test methods for the identification of different types of pathogenic bacteria.