Water Testing in the Shire of Capel
The next free water testing will be at the Boyanup District Farmers Markets March 25th 2012.
The Shire of Capel Natural Resource Management Officer conducts free community water testing 4 times a year at the Boyanup farmers market. The testing looks at conductivity, which indicates how much salt is in the water and pH which shows the acidity or alkalinity of the water.
Community members bring in samples from their tanks, bores, creeks, soaks and dams for testing. This testing cannot tell if the water is safe to drink, as it does not show bacterial or heavy metal contamination. However there are some things that these two tests can reveal.
Over time, there are a few issues that appear to be common to many local self-managed water supplies.
Low pH in tanks and bores
If you rely on rainwater for use in your house, check the pH of the water. In some areas around Boyanup and Donnybrook the rain is acidic with a pH of 5.5 falling from the sky. If the pH is below 6.5 then this water will corrode copper pipes and you will see green copper stains on sinks and shower recesses.
If your bore water has a pH below 5 some plants will struggle to survive.
A simple pool pH test kit can be used to test the pH of your tank water. The World Health Organisation guidelines for drinking-water show pH should be between 6.5-8.5. If your drinking water is outside these limits it is recommended you have your tank water professionally tested and remediated to make it the right pH.
Poor quality of bore water
Bore water can be highly contaminated and still look crystal clear. This is why it is recommended that people do not top up their drinking water tank with bore water, unless the bore water is first professionally tested.
High salt in bore and dam water
Sometimes plant growth may be stunted due to high salt concentrations in water. One sign of salt is a dried out edge around leaves.
Ways to reduce the effect of salt is to; avoid spraying the leaves, only use drippers and use lots of mulch.
The next free water testing will be at the Boyanup District Farmers Markets March 25th 2012