Dripping water at a faucet (C) Daniel FriedmanMunicipal Water Test: sample parameters if testing a Municipal Water supply - home buyer advice

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

City, municipal, or community water testing: should individuals bother to test such water supplies? If so why, when, and what tests are typically performed?

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2015 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.

Private Tests of Community or Municipal Water Supply Quality or Potability or for Contaminants

Normally we would not test water in a property served by a municipal supply, as federal, state, or other regulations require thorough and frequent testing that is more extensive than a private individual is likely to employ.

However for small water systems such as those serving a limited number of homes, and particularly where the water supply system is being privately managed by a local firm or by a local property manager, some screening tests may be appropriate.

This would be particularly true if a review of the history of local testing and water sanitation by the local provider raises questions about the accuracy and thoroughness of the water management company. Be sure to review actual parameters with your home inspector or laboratory: parameters and costs vary.

The water test parameters listed below are typical state testing requirements for municipal water supply testing. Be sure to review actual parameters with your home inspector or laboratory: parameters and costs vary.

Municipal Water Test Paramaters

Water Analysis Paramaters for Municipal Water Supply Systems

Total Coliform

Fecal/E. Coli


















Total Dissolved Solids




Reasons for Additional Testing of Municipal Water Supplies for Contaminants

Presuming you're in the U.S., federal regulations require very extensive and regular testing of the public water supply.

But there could be an in-building contaminant source from piping, or from a source such as legionnaire's bacteria growth in a hot water tank or other bacterial contamination in a pressure tank or piping. Water conditioner can also be a contaminant reservoirs.

You may want to clean such tanks or treatment equipment and disinfect it as a precautionary measure, then wait 2 weeks or longer (to allow any bacteria to regenerate), then perform at a minimum a bacteria test recommended by your local water test lab.

Discuss with the lab including Giardia testing in your bacteria test result. for an unknown buildnig & situation no one can safely tell you to ignore any concern you express, but finding Giardia in a public water supply would normally be a surprise. But indeed such water quality issues are not just imaginary, as you can read in the following research citations:

Watch out: bactrial contaminants and other contaminants can enter the human body by more means than just drinking water, such as by foods. See Millard (1994) cited below for an example.

Also see

Research on Contaminant in Public Water Supply

  • Atherton, F., C. P. S. Newman, and D. P. Casemore. "An outbreak of waterborne cryptosporidiosis associated with a public water supply in the UK." Epidemiology and Infection 115, no. 01 (1995): 123-131.
  • Betancourt, Walter Q., and Joan B. Rose. "Drinking water treatment processes for removal of< i> Cryptosporidium</i> and< i> Giardia</i>." Veterinary parasitology 126, no. 1 (2004): 219-234.
  • Flanagan, P. A. "Giardia--diagnosis, clinical course and epidemiology. A review." Epidemiology and Infection 109, no. 1 (1992): 1.
  • Fraser, G. Graham, and Kenneth R. Cooke. "Endemic giardiasis and municipal water supply." American journal of public health 81, no. 6 (1991): 760-762.
  • Hashimoto, Atsushi, Shoichi Kunikane, and Tsuyoshi Hirata. "Prevalence of< i> Cryptosporidium</i> oocysts and Giardia ysts in the drinking water supply in Japan." Water Research 36, no. 3 (2002): 519-526.
  • Hayes, Edward B., Thomas D. Matte, Thomas R. O'Brien, Thomas W. McKinley, Gary S. Logsdon, Joan B. Rose, Beth LP Ungar et al. "Large community outbreak of cryptosporidiosis due to contamination of a filtered public water supply." New England Journal of Medicine 320, no. 21 (1989): 1372-1376.
  • Jephcott, A. E., N. T. Begg, and I. A. Baker. "Outbreak of giardiasis associated with mains water in the United Kingdom." The Lancet 327, no. 8483 (1986): 730-732.
  • Kent, George P., JOEL R. Greenspan, Joy L. Herndon, Lynne M. Mofenson, J. A. Harris, Thomas R. Eng, and Hetty A. Waskin. "Epidemic giardiasis caused by a contaminated public water supply." American journal of public health 78, no. 2 (1988): 139-143.
  • LeChevallier, MARK W., William D. Norton, and Ramon G. Lee. "Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp. in filtered drinking water supplies." Applied and Environmental Microbiology 57, no. 9 (1991): 2617-2621.
  • LeChevallier, Mark W., William D. Norton, and Ramon G. Lee. "Occurrence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp. in surface water supplies." Applied and Environmental Microbiology 57, no. 9 (1991): 2610-2616.
  • Levine, W. C., W. T. Stephenson, and G. F. Craun. "Waterborne disease outbreaks, 1986-1988." MMWR. CDC surveillance summaries: morbidity and mortality weekly report. CDC Surveillance Summaries/Centers for Disease Control 39, no. 1 (1990): 1-13.
  • Mac Kenzie, William R., Neil J. Hoxie, Mary E. Proctor, M. Stephen Gradus, Kathleen A. Blair, Dan E. Peterson, James J. Kazmierczak et al. "A massive outbreak in Milwaukee of Cryptosporidium infection transmitted through the public water supply." New England journal of medicine 331, no. 3 (1994): 161-167.
  • Millard, Peter S., Kathleen F. Gensheimer, David G. Addiss, Daniel M. Sosin, Geoffrey A. Beckett, Agnes Houck-Jankoski, and Arlene Hudson. "An outbreak of cryptosporidiosis from fresh-pressed apple cider." Jama 272, no. 20 (1994): 1592-1596.
  • Rose, Joan B., Charles P. Gerba, and Walter Jakubowski. "Survey of potable water supplies for Cryptosporidium and Giardia." Environmental Science & Technology 25, no. 8 (1991): 1393-1400.
  • Rose, Joan B., Charles N. Haas, and Stig Regli. "Risk assessment and control of waterborne giardiasis." American journal of public health 81, no. 6 (1991): 709-713.

More Reading

Green link shows where you are in this article series.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Questions & answers or comments about testing your community or city water supply.

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References