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Northeast Laboratories, Inc.

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Potable Water


Berlin Office
129 Mill Street, Suite 11
Berlin, CT 06037
CT 860.828.9787 or 800.826.0105
outside CT 800.654.1230
fax 860.829.1050
Contact the Berlin Office

New York State Water Interpretations

In NEW YORK, the Department of Public Health (DPH), uses a combination of standards and advisory levels to help consumers interpret their water test results.  Their excess does not necessarily mean that the water is harmful, but it might indicate that the source of the problem be found and corrected.  For specific questions concerning your analysis, or any treatment you are considering, contact the Laboratory or your Local Health Department.  The following  limits  are presented as a guideline only.





Recommended Limits




      (Bacteriological Test):

This test is made to detect organisms of the so-called coliform group, found mostly in the intestinal tract of man and other animals.  The presence of coliform indicates the possibility that disease-producing organisms may also be present in the water:


  LIMIT:  0 per 100 mL





Color may result from iron, manganese, humus, plankton, weeds, or industrial wastes.



No designated DPH MCL limits






Odor is a subjective evaluation of acceptability of the water.


No designated DPH MCL limits






Copper is used in plumbing systems.  It is not very toxic, but does cause staining.







pH Value:

pH defines the hydrogen-ion concentration in water and represents the aggressiveness of the water toward pipes, etc. (a low pH being more corrosive).



Recommended Limit:  6.4 to 8.6 range





This test measures the light scattering property of solids in water as compared to a standard clay suspension.



Limit:  5 Units





Nitrogen Constituents:


These may indicate sewage or other nitrogenous organic contamination.  Nitrate Nitrogen in excess of 10 mg/L is potentially dangerous, particularly for infant feeding. 



Limits:  Nitrate 10 mg/L as N;
         Nitrite 1mg/L as N








Alkalinity is a measure of alkaline substances such as hydroxides, carbonates, and bicarbonated with capacity for neutralizing acid.


    Designated DPH MCL






Hardness is primarily a measure of calcium and magnesium in water and is related to the soap-consuming power of water.


No Designated DPH MCL





Excess iron results in color and turbidity.  Iron stains laundry and fixtures orange-brown and promotes iron bacteria which can impact a taste and odor.  Iron can be removed with a water softner, iron filtration or ion exchange.



DPH  MCL:  0.30 mg/L





Manganese can cause black stains on laundry or fixtures.  Manganese is removed with a water softner, iron filtration or ion exchange.



DPH  MCL:  0.30 mg/L

Iron Plus Manganese:


DPH  MCL:  0.50 mg/L





Lead is a metal formerly used in soldering joints in plumbing systems.  It is now prohibited, but many houses still have lead in their plumbing systems.  Lead can build up gradually in the body and can have effects on the brain and nervous system.



Action Level:  0.015 mg/L






Persons with high blood pressure, hypertension, congestive heart disease or persons on a low salt diet should consult their physician before consuming a source with a high sodium level.


DPH GUIDE:  20 mg/L for people on a severely restricted sodium diet.  270 mg/L for people on a moderately restricted sodium diet.






mg/L = Milligrams per Liter          N=Nitrogen          mL=Milliliters
DPH=Department of Health            NTU=Nephelometic Turbidity Units