Drinking Water Quality and
Pre-Purchase Home Inspections
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Many buildings in the Metro New York area receive their water through municipal water systems. Municipal water systems draw their water from reservoirs or community wells. For example, New York City and Lower Westchester County rely on upstate reservoirs for water. Most of Nassau County and the more populated parts of Suffolk County rely on municipal wells. Less populated areas like parts of eastern Long Island, Northern Westchester County, and Putnam County may rely on private wells.
You should perform a water test if the home you are considering purchasing relies on well water. Many banks require that well water be tested before they will grant a mortgage. For more information on water and water testing, visit the EPA water information website. Contact an appropriate testing laboratory to arrange for a water test.
Municipal water is generally monitored according to standards set by The United States EPA. Check with your local water supplier for information on how the water supplied to your building is monitored. In many instances, you can obtain the results of the water supplier’s most recent water test. Often, the water is not contaminated when it leaves the water supplier’s facility. Water can pick up contaminants as it travels through the pipes to your home or building. A clean test from the local water authority is not a guarantee there is no contamination in your home or building.
Lead in Water
One risk in some water systems is lead in the water. Lead often enters the water via the water main. Lead can also enter the water as it passes over lead-based solder used on some copper pipes. Many home, building, condo, and co-op purchasers, particularly those with small children, are concerned about the risks of lead. The amount of lead entering the water depends on factors such as water chemistry and temperature. Over time, the amount of lead entering the water may decrease due to the buildup of corrosion and sediment in the pipes.
Water can be tested for lead content, and you should arrange for such testing with an appropriate water testing laboratory. When testing for lead content, it is desirable to test water that has been stagnant in the pipes overnight. If elevated levels of lead are found, appropriate steps should be taken to reduce the lead level in the water.
If your building draws its water from a private well, then the water quality should be tested. Water drawn from a well may have contaminants such as bacteria, fertilizers, and road salts. Many banks require that the water be tested for potability before they will grant a mortgage on a building with a private well.
Because each item tested has a different lab protocol, there are varying turn-around times for receiving test results. This, combined with other delays in lab testing, means you may not be able to get the results immediately. Have the water potability tested as soon as possible to avoid delays in your home purchase.
Pre-purchase inspection standards specifically exclude testing water quality and potability testing. Heimer Engineering's pre-purchase inspections do not include testing water quality and potability testing. Heimer Engineering's Professional Engineers advise you of the need for testing well water, just as other Home Inspectors do. Heimer Engineering does not misrepresent this as water testing.
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Heimer Engineering℠ serves the Metro New York area, including New York City (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island), Long Island (Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Upstate New York (Rockland County, Putnam County, and Westchester County).
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Heimer Engineering℠ Standards of PracticeThe Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ substantially adhere to the InterNACHI® Code of Ethics, to Subpart 197-4 of the State of New York Code of Ethics and Regulations for Home Inspectors, and to the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE®) Code of Ethics. All State of New York Licensed Engineers are also bound by New York State Education Law Article 145.
Heimer Engineering℠ Code of Ethics
The Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ substantially adhere to the InterNACHI® Standards of Practice and the ASHI® Standards of Practice. In the event of a conflict, the Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ use Engineering judgment to decide what standard or Engineering principle takes precedence.
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Heimer Engineering℠ performs home inspections, building inspections, condominium inspections, and co-op inspections in the State of New York. We do not perform inspections or recommend Inspectors or Engineers outside of the State of New York. We provide Licensed Professional Engineer consultation services including hurricane and storm damage and damage from adjoining construction. Expert witness services are provided regarding playground injuries, parking lot, walkway, and stairway slip, trip, and fall.
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