Facts About Water Testing in New York City

There are things you should know about water testing and analysis.

1. Testing for lead in water is not new. The government has been conducting it for decades. In fact, the EPA has been funding lead testing for decades. Testing for lead has been a priority to keep the environment safe for children.

2. The EPA provides resources and research to do the testing and to provide guidance. It is just that you have to get out of your way and do the work. For example, you need to identify the sample, place the water sample in the water meter, determine the water sample’s composition and label it. Determine the results of the test for lead, the results of the sample’s composition analysis and label them. You should take one more step and give a written report to the customer. It is advised to describe how they could perform the water tests themselves.

3. If you have a home that was built before 1978, the EPA requires an additional step in the lead analysis. Water sample in the water meter must be less than 20 parts per billion.

4. If you have a public water system, the provider must have passed their lead test. All tests performed for lead must be certified and labeled to be the “best estimate” of the test results. You can find an example of the lead test instructions on their website. Do not trust any other certification on tests performed by the water provider. This is to insure safety, as no one else has been qualified to do the testing, labeling or instructions.

5. You should follow the lead of the utility to label the water samples. The label, analysis report, “best estimate” of test results, labels must be identical to be the “accurate” results. They are the “true” results.

6. If the “best estimate” of test results is 20 ppb or less, then you should continue to provide the water service. If the results are more than that, you may label the sample as “above guideline.” You can list the higher test results on the water bill. You should label the sample above the guidelines based on the highest level reported. This is the legal method used to give the lead level. You can find an example of the lead level test instructions on their website. (If this information is not posted, please let us know, as we will add it as soon as possible.)

So the test methods are based on best estimates of test results at the time the results were obtained. The best water testing options in NYC do not test for lead. They only report the results after interpretation of the results from the tests.

The actual utility is the company that provides the service to the public. They need to take more tests to get the “best estimate” results. They pay the testing company to perform the testing. The testing company then provides their report of the results.