Analysis Request – Drinking Water

Drinking water, also called potable water, is water fit for consumption, food preparation and domestic use. Public water systems are routinely monitored to meet drinking water standards. Private water supplies from wells, springs, boreholes or cisterns, however, are not regulated. It is therefore the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure drinking water is free from harmful chemical and microbiological contaminants. Vinlab H2O offers various ‘Drinking water’ packages in line with several regulatory bodies, including SANS 241, GlobalGAP and WEITA.


It is essential to test all drinking water for indicator organisms to ensure water is free from potential pathogens. Monitoring of Total coliforms and E.coli. , along with the critical chemical parameters of pH, total dissolved solids, nitrates, sulphates, iron and manganese, should routinely take place.


A wide range of pathogenic viruses, protozoa and bacteria are transmitted by water and may be the cause of diseases such as cholera, hepatitis, gastroenteritis and typhoid fever. pH and total dissolved solids provide an index to the quality of your drinking water. A low pH (<6.5) or high pH (>8.5) may cause corrosion or a bad taste, while fluctuating total dissolved solid levels indicate pollution may have occurred. Taste, colour, odour and staining of clothes or fixtures are less serious problems but may be avoided by frequent drinking water testing.

How often?

The frequency of water testing will be dependent on the condition of the water. As a guideline, private water supplies should be tested annually. However, when changes in the colour, taste and odour occur, more frequent testing should take place.


Nitrates are best tested after a rainy season. Other chemical and microbiological parameters should be tested when there are changes in conditions or any nearby activities that can influence water quality.


It is the responsibility of the homeowner or any organisation that makes use of a private well, spring, borehole or cistern, to ensure water is safe for consumption.