Survival Buzz: How to Test Your Drinking Water

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: August 24, 2021
Survival Buzz: How to Test Your Drinking Water

When you think about emergency water, most likely you think about acquisition, purification, and filtering processes. I know that I do. What is missing from this equation, though, is testing. Can we assume the water coming out of the kitchen faucet is safe to drink? And what about well water or home filtered water? Wouldn’t you like to know about the lead, bacteria, pesticide, iron, and copper content of your water?

These questions lead me to the topic for today: testing your drinking water using a home test kit.

How to Test Drinking Water At Home | Backdoor Survival

Truth be told, I have had a kit from Test Assured sitting in my office for a couple of months but shame on me. I procrastinated using the kit because I assumed the testing process would be complicated and time-consuming. Guess what? Testing my tap water was easy and fun plus, at the end, I was confident my water was safe to drink.

My guess is that you, too, would also like to test your water, and to support that, Test Assured is sponsoring a giveaway for three of their complete water analysis test kits. The beauty of these kits is that they are all inclusive – all you need is a about a half cup of water, and you are good to go. Not only that, the kit can be used to test municipal water, well water, or water from a private water company owned by a community or co-op.

Follow along as I share some highlights of the testing process.

How to Use a Kit to Test Drinking Water

How to Test Drinking Water At Home | Backdoor Survival

I started with a half cup of tap water in a Pyrex cup. This was enough water to perform all of the tests. Showing you a cup of water was kind of boring so here you see me pouring water into one of the included test containers. As I mentioned, everything you need to perform all of the tests is included in the kit. This includes the testing vessels.

How to Test Drinking Water At Home | Backdoor Survival

For one of the tests, you use a pipette to transfer a couple of droppers full of water to the testing vessel.

Water Test | Backdoor Survival

The various tests come in tightly sealed foil packets so you might also want to have a scissors handy. Each packet is well marked with the type of test and can easily be cross referenced to the instruction card.

The instruction cards double as keys to the test results. The exception is the bacteria test which takes 48 hours to “cook”. Your water passes the bacteria test if it turns purple.

How to Test Drinking Water At Home | Backdoor Survival

How to Test Drinking Water At Home | Backdoor Survival

Yay! I passed!

All in all, I was extremely satisfied with the test kit and plan to keep a spare with my emergency supplies. Following a disaster, it seems prudent to re-test. Note that my kit included an expiration date of 11/2018 which is a shelf-life of 2+ years which is decent enough.

A few other points.

The tests are easy to administer and gives you results within 10 minutes for every test included, except bacteria which takes 48 hours for full results. The test kit includes all of the following water tests.

  • Lead Test
  • Bacteria Test
  • Pesticide Test
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Nitrates & Nitrites
  • Chlorine Level
  • pH Levels Check
  • Alkalinity
  • Hardness

The tests are manufactured in the United States.

The Test Assured website has a detailed discussion of the various contaminants that are tested using this kit. When you go to the site, you will find the topic “Water Contaminants” on the menu bar. After clicking that, you will find a discussion of each, including health concerns and various ways to eliminate the contaminant from your water.

Test kits are available online via their website.

The Giveaway

This is the part you have been waiting for, right? There will be 3 winners, each receiving a complete water analysis kit just like the one I used.

To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below. Select one or more of the options after signing in using your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours. The best way to start is by clicking on “Free Entry for Everyone”. After that, each option you select represents an additional entry. There are a number of different options so pick and choose or select them all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note: Due to Customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to those with a mailing address in the United States.

Other Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways

Prepper Book Festival 12: Mason Jar Nation + Giveaway

With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected. Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article. This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway.

Other Announcements

This week I have been listening to the webinar talks that are part of Essential Oils Revolution2. They have been of extremely high quality and are free. One of the best parts of the series is they are non-brand specific which means the information can be applied to your favorite high-quality essential oil brand.

EO Revolution 2 runs through August 29th but if you missed out on the first week, no worries. Sunday, August 29th is “Encore Day” and you will have an opportunity to listen to a replay of any or all of the topics. You do, however, need to register.

Here is a link: 2016 EO Revolution 2


Spark Naturals Weekly Specials

This week Spark Naturals is featuring special pricing on a bundle that includes the Health and Wellness Kit plus a bottle of Fractionated Coconut Oil. The price with my discount code BACKDOORSURVIVAL is $69.52. That works out to less than $7 per oil (including pricey Frankincense, normally $24.99) plus your carrier oil. The discount ends up at a whopping 33% plus shipping is free.

Click here for the Health and Wellness + FCO Bundle

If you are not interested in the FCO, in honor of this interview with Valerie, the Health and Wellness Kit alone has also been discounted 25% when using my code.


My favorite talk was on day one. The title was “Debunking the Most Common (and Dangerous!) Myths” by Robert Pappas, PhD. If you only have time to listen to a single talk, let it be this one.

The Final Word

The water in my home flows through the tap via a small, locally owned water company. For years we would receive quarterly reports indicating our water fell below EPA standards for drinking water. Once a carbon filtering system was installed at the plant, the reports turned the corner and became positive.

Regardless of the reports and my own personal testing, I still filter all drinking and cooking water through my Royal Berkey. Having the Berkey is like having a backup plan. Still, not everyone can afford a Berkey or other filtering system for day to day use. II t simply makes sense to have the ability to test your water yourself, and now that I know how easy it is, I recommend doing so annually.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates. When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

Spotlight: Drinking Water Test Kit – 10 Minute Testing For Lead Bacteria Pesticide Iron Copper and More

This at-home kit contains tests for Lead, Bacteria, Pesticide, Iron, Copper, Alkalinity, pH, Hardness, Chlorine, Nitrates and Nitrites. A cinch to use plus it is made in the USA and 100% guaranteed. Works with well water as well as water from your municipal of community water system.

Here are some additional water-related items that I own and can recommend.

Ultimate 55 Gallon Water Barrel Combo: Everyone should have at least one. Remember, if storing in your garage or on pavers, place the filled barrel on a wooden platform and not directly on the concrete.

The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: You can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water. When catastrophe strikes, having enough water can spell the difference between life and death. This book offers a step-by-step plan with straightforward information you can easily follow. Written by my friend Daisy Luther, I recommended the book for everyone’s survival library!

No Rinse Cleansing & Deodorizing Bathing Wipes: One wipe is more than enough for a complete “bath”. These are a good backup when traditional showers are not available such as the week or weeks following a disaster. Also good for the sick room as well as camping, boating, hiking and such. Here is my review.

Fluidmaster 400CR Toilet Fill Valve and Flapper Repair Kit: Speaking of water, this is one of those items you don’t think of stockpiling but believe me, we now have a couple in reserve for emergency purposes. Why fuss with adjusting a tank valve when you can replace the whole thing and 10 minutes of your time?

AquaPod: Have you considered storing water in your bathtub? The AquaPod is a bladder that you can use in your bathtub to store water if you know that a storm, flood, or hurricane is brewing. (I call these “disruptive events”.)

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.

Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink. Easy to use and the water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. One 50 tablet bottle treats 25 quarts of water.

DryTec Calcium Hypochlorite, 1-Pound: This is 68% Calcium Hypochlorite. As of this writing, the price is with free shipping. I purchased Ultima Pool Shock which is 73% Calcium Hypochlorite. For more information, read How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water.

Black Berkey Primer Gizmo: Okay, that is my name for it. This device makes back-flushing a Black Berkey Filter a cinch. Following a disaster, when you are depending on your filters for clean water, you may not have running water. If you have a Berkey, you are going to want one of these inexpensive devices. For more information, see The Survival Buzz #160: Maintaining Black Berkey Filters.


What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival


Aff | Emergency Survival Blanket

[DEAL] Emergency Survival Blanket

Pocket-size survival blanket could save a life - throw in your bag or car.

Get Cheap Security
Aff | Tactical Flashlight
[DEAL] Ultrabright Tactical Flashlight Get This Deal

80 Responses to “Survival Buzz: How to Test Your Drinking Water”

  1. I’d like to see more about how to store rainwater safely – what needs to be added or done to treat it for longer term storage?

  2. I would be curious about MacGyver-type systems–are there any simple, tried-and-true ways to ensure that your water is safe in an emergency? Simple filters, boiling methods and such? Not everyone is going to be able to spend a lot of money for a system they won’t regularly use in their everyday lives. Thanks for asking! : )

  3. Love the water testing kit. Grew up with well water, and the well is still going strong today. The testing kit looks easy, too!

  4. First thank you for the inf on water testing kit. It’s something I really had not thought a great deal about. I have been more concerned with saving and keeping water.
    I also would be interested in more discussions regarding water. Could this product be used to test water being kept in rain barrels (when and if it rains in So Cal. again)?

  5. I really can’t think of anything that you haven’t covered already, but I’m a water storage newbie.

  6. I would love to use this for rainwater stirage! We also have our own well, this would definitely come in handy!

  7. Finally! A way to test your water in an emergency situation so you don’t have to just assume! Talk about peace of mind…thank you!

  8. I think many underestimate how much emergency water they will really need. We are so indoctrinated for 1 gallon per person per day. Issues like sanitation, personal hygiene(including bathing & showers), freeze-dried or dehydrated food reconstitution and cooking, etc. could be considered an emergency water subject. Also water is heavy – what about ways to haul it when you can’t store enough (a long term issue).

  9. Do they make a test for fluoride? that gives approx. ppm (or ppb) as the case may be?
    I know it is added to the water here, so sad, but how much is not known for sure (and no one seems to know who to talk to about how much it costs either 🙁 )

  10. These articles that you present are the very reason why I love your site. You are one of my go to people when I’m researching things. Some how “water testing” got pushed to the back burner at our house. This will change after reading your article on testing. The last thing we will need to face in a crisis situation is water borne illnesses. Again, that will change after today. Thanks for the “Kick in the pants” to jump start our need to water test.

  11. I’d like to know more about rotating water storage – is it really necessary? Does the water go “bad”? Can you use the water for drinking water if it hasn’t been rotated for several years? We have a procrastinator in the family and I’d like more facts. Thanks!

  12. Not sure if you’ve covered this topic or not, but I’d like to see something on how to seek out natural or man-made water sources in the desert. I live near Phoenix and my understanding is that there are many cattle ponds out there. Wonder if there is a way to map them so that if I have to bug out on foot, I can go from pond to pond. Yucky water, but good if I have a filter & purifier.

  13. I see these ads for building a gizmo to pull / make water out of air. They claim it works even in the desert. That would be a fantastic thing if you could actually do it. Is there maybe a grain of truth in it, and a possibility for such a thing in the future?

    • I remember Alex Jones was advertising those units in 2008. No longer though and I know not why! I think they were a great idea!!!

  14. With the Zika virus being in the news daily, many municipalities are treating open water sources such as ponds with mosquito-cides. During a disruptive event, a neighborhood retention pond that has been treated may need to be used as a source for drinking water. Does the average water filter remove these type chemicals or is a multiprong approach needed such as boiling and filtering?

  15. You cover things so expertly I can’t think of anything to ask about. We live in the country on a well, so a testing system for our well water is an awesome idea.

  16. I tested my water from following your 12 months of prepping. That program is what got me where I am today and I am much more confident and prepared than even 6 months ago. I have well water but it is right by our pasture (so lots of cow and goat and chicken poop nearby)plus we are surrounded by crop land. Luckily the water was fine but I plan to test regularly and, until I can afford that Berkey, I use Pur filters.
    Again, thank you for your website and information. I learn something new every day.

  17. We live in the country on a well.. this is awesome to test.

    What kind of advice do you have about carrying water? I work 35 miles from home and water is heavy.

    Look forward to your articles and info! One of the few things I stop and read right away.
    Thanks !

  18. I am hooked up to a small town utility system that adds chlorine and fluoride and “heaven knows what else” to our water. When I asked for specifics, I got a “thanks for asking” generic reply. Our state university lab will not even test water from “municipal systems” on the assumption that someone else is already verifying its safety. Pardon my paranoia but I would love to be able to conduct my own tests.

  19. I had thought about testing the water but I was not sure where to get reliable testing equipment. Thanks for the information and we will definitely put it to good use.

  20. We tend to assume our “city water” is tested & treated to be safe. Guess Flint, Michigan would have something to say about that! I think a test kit would be a wonderful addition. Thank you, Gaye.

  21. You may have answered this in an article already (excuse me, gettin’ old…) but, Is it really necessary to ‘rotate’ water storage? I mean given scrupulously clean containers, pure water source and protection from light, is water really gonna go bad?

  22. As someone mentioned above, I would love to know more about atmospheric condensers. What size would I need outside to keep my garden happy? Does anything need to be done to the water from an indoor unit to make sure it’s safe? What do I need to know to make my own unit(s)?

    Also, I just bought my Berkey system, one of the smallest ones, which will be plenty for the everyday needs of my family. If I can ever figure out how to set it up. If you haven’t already, I’d appreciate some additional info on the care and feeding thereof. Thanks.

  23. I would like to read more about catching and storing rain water. My county encourages residents to catch and use rain water for things like washing the car and watering the lawn. My questions would be on testing the water and if it’s safe for drinking (after filtering/purifying?) and using in the vegetable garden.

  24. Would love to see more people promote the usefulness of rain barrels when water goes out…basic how to on what to do with the water from the barrel to the needed use: flushing, showering, dishes, drinking, etc. (filtering, boiling, treating with bleach, etc.)

  25. If stocking up on these kinds of test kits for shtf, is it unnecessary what with purifying,etc or a good backup to have.

  26. I would like to know if these water pitcher type filters that are suppose to filter out the fluoride, chlorine, lead, and many more impurities are worth the $50 cost. Mine’s brand name is “clearly filtered”.

  27. I think you’ve covered the topic as well as you can. But reminders and things like this that are new are always a good thing. Thanks for the opportunity to win this test kit.

  28. I also grew up with well water. It was treated sulfur water and to this day, drinking plain water is a chore. I would like to continue to see articles on the up and coming methods of storing emergency water. Some of the ways today are not practical for me but it’s great to see the new storage items that may work better.

  29. I had thought about purification but not testing. Thanks for the info! Water storage is high on my “next big purchase” list. Love your step by step style for the how-to articles.

  30. Just bought a property with an unused well. I want to test the water after getting a pump and running enough to be testing fresh water.

  31. We live in the country. While we have a deep well, I am concerned about pollution of the well by the neighboring farmers. When we purchased the property, the well had to be flushed and treated to remove nitrates caused by fertilization and other chemicals. How can we test for this?

  32. Let’s see…having a well, with a pump that runs on electricity…what are some good manual pumps, and how would you switch to one, in a SHTF situation. (or ideally,,,before!)

  33. I have often wondered if there is an affordable water test kit but never sure where/how to research the options…always like it if somebody I ‘trust’ has tried and proven method of new items to me…Thanks for this article..

  34. I would like to know about what if any devise exists to get water out of a well that supplies our house if there is a major power failure. It is a pretty deep well. Thank you for all the help you give us and for all the giveaways!

  35. I also want to know more about the shelf life of the tablets and I’m sure I’ve missed it but the shelf life of “pool shock” Can I use my “sucky” machine (as a friend of mine calls it) to vac-pac it for storage? The manufacturer has a find your own size bags on rolls so you can get bigger things in them to vac-pac. I’ve used those to vac-pac larger cuts of meat in preparation for when we have the whole family over for dinner instead of trying to find two or three pieces of the same meat to cook

  36. Forgot to add, Our Home Depot has been giving away a small water testing kit for free. I’m in Michigan (not the Flint area) so it may not be available at all HD’s

Leave a Reply