The IHS Laboratory seeks to empower people by easily accessible to water quality testing services. Sample collection bottles with guides and appropriate carry bag are made available round-the-clock. Samples are also received 24 hours. Samples received after working hours are stored by watchman in freezers for analysis the next day. People inquire about water quality testing options at IHS through dial-in and online search platforms like JustDial, through the IHS website, and/or personally visiting the IHS. A service matrix showing the scope of various test-packages, their test codes and a guide for selection of test-packages is made available to all visitors to the Front office and through email to people inquiring online. Sample collection services are offered for a modest fee. Reports are being scanned and sent by e-mail, held for pickup or couriered depending on client-options.
Test-packages are designed for water from different sources for various uses. For example; the complete potability tests (CPT) includes a set of common parameters to test municipal water from surface water sources, to assess potability and fitness for domestic use. The groundwater potability tests (GPT) build upon CPT and includes some more parameters relevant for borewell water. The basic potability tests (BPT) includes a minimal subset of CPT/GPT to assess potability, at a lower cost. Clients can use GPT/CPT to benchmark their sources and then follow up with BPT at periodic intervals to ensure that their source continues to remain potable. As of August 2021, the service matrix includes 38 test packages, consisting of 17 mostly single parameter tests, and 21 multi-parameter test packages. The multi-parameter test-packages include; RO/bottled water potability (ROP, BWP), surface water profile (SPT), basic (municipal water distribution) system vulnerability (BSV), dialysis RO system feed water (DRF), dialysis water basics (DLB), bacterial endotoxin (BET), (swimming) pool side tests (PST), effluent water (EWT), sewage treatment plant effluent (STE) tests, in addition to GPT, CPT and BPT mentioned earlier. The parameters included in various test-packages are tailored to facilitate interpretation with respect to the concerned source, treatment efficacy and intended use. For example; PST includes free, combined and total chlorine, relevant for adequate disinfection of contaminants from bathers in swimming pools. Effluent water tests (EWT and STE) includes total suspended solids (TSS), biochemical and chemical oxygen demand (BOD, COD), Oil and grease, etc.
Notes and recommendations attached to test reports in a unique feature of water quality test services from the IHS laboratory. People usually have concern about safety and suitability of water for an intended use. For example; is this water safe to drink? Can I use my borewell water for domestic purposes? Is it suitable for gardening? Some clients ask if their water suitable for poultry, fisheries or other animal feed. Occasionally, a client may ask if the water suitable for a beauty-saloon, or to wash aircraft engines! A baker would be concerned about suitability of water for their operations and a food processing industry would want to know if the water is suitable for washing and cleaning of raw fruits and vegetables. Sometimes clients bring sample of water collected in their cellar and ask if they can put it to some use. To meet various client concerns, IHS faculty refer applicable standards, fact sheets, public health and/or environmental protection agency advisories, industry guidelines, etc. to offer notes and recommendations regarding suitability of the particular water sample submitted for analysis for their intended purpose.
In addition to fitness for purpose, IHS faculty try to diagnose, hypothesize or at least develop some conjectures about what could have contributed to observed deviations in water quality parameter values, and how to deal with the situation. For example; high turbidity in case of a recently drilled borewell may indicate that either well development was not done or is incomplete and/or mismatch between natural yield of the borewell and capacity of the pumping arrangement. The notes and recommendations would briefly mention about usefulness of well development and direct the client to literature that describes methods for well development. Clear water from a recently drilled borewell showing presence of coliforms may indicate contamination during drilling. In such cases, IHS notes and recommendations would advise about procedure for disinfection of the borewell using easily available household products for chlorination. Output from a water purifier with Ultra violet (UV), showing presence of total coliforms can be used for drinking, but presence of heterotrophic organism in the sample would indicate failing UV unit, and/or contamination from the dispense faucet.
Water Quality Service Codes, Test Packages and Scope
Water Quality Tests Catalogue in Tabular Form (Services Matrix)