If you are considering purchasing a home with an FHA loan in the Tampa Bay area, you will likely need to have an FHA water test done on the property. An FHA water test is required by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to ensure the water supply for a home meets certain safety and quality standards before they will approve a loan.
Overview of FHA Water Testing Requirements
The FHA requires water testing on most properties to protect home buyers from potential health hazards and disclosure issues related to water contamination. Their guidelines help ensure the water is safe to drink and use for household purposes.
Specifically, the FHA requires testing for coliform bacteria, nitrates, and lead in the water supply. They also require the water to be tested for hardness, as very hard water can lead to premature failure of water heaters, appliances and pipes.
Why Test for Coliform Bacteria?
The presence of coliform bacteria in water indicates potential contamination from surface water, sewage or animal waste. Coliform bacteria itself may not directly cause illness, but its presence often indicates other disease-causing organisms could be in the water.
Sources of coliform bacteria in well water include:
Septic systems or sewer lines located too close to the well
Runoff containing animal waste entering the water supply
Broken or cracked well casings allowing bacteria to enter
Coliform bacteria is tested by taking a water sample and sending it to a certified lab for analysis. The FHA requires the coliform test result to be negative (no bacteria detected) in order to approve the loan.
The AquaGuard UV SYSTEM is an effective way to eliminate coliform bacteria and other microorganisms from well water using ultraviolet light disinfection.
Checking for Nitrate Contamination
Nitrates are inorganic compounds that can enter groundwater supplies from overuse of chemical fertilizers, animal waste, or septic systems. High levels of nitrates in drinking water pose a serious health threat, especially to infants.
The FHA limit for nitrates in water is 10 mg/L (ppm), which matches the EPA's safe drinking water standard. If nitrate levels exceed this limit, treatment with an AquaCarbonGuard Catalytic Carbon Filter or AquaRevive Reverse Osmosis System can effectively reduce nitrates for safe drinking water.
Why Test for Lead in Drinking Water?
Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can leach into water from old lead pipes, solder or brass fixtures in the plumbing system. Lead exposure can cause severe health effects, especially in children and pregnant women.
The FHA lead limit is 0.015 mg/L (ppm) which matches the EPA action level. If lead is detected above this level, a whole house filtration system like AquaBlue can remove lead along with other metals, sediment and chemicals.
Replacing lead service lines, pipes and fixtures is the best permanent solution. Until then, flushing pipes before using water, and filtering at point of use can reduce lead exposure.
Evaluating Water Hardness
Hard water contains high amounts of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium. The FHA requires testing water hardness because very hard water causes scale buildup in pipes, water heaters and appliances.
Water is considered hard if hardness levels exceed 120 mg/L. However, problems can start occurring above 75 mg/L. Common issues include:
Scale buildup in pipes and fixtures causing reduced flow
Scale deposits coating water heater elements shortening the life span
Mineral spots on dishes, utensils and laundry
Reduction in efficiency for soaps and detergents
In Tampa, our water comes from the Floridan Aquifer which contains limestone and other soft sediments. This natural geology makes our groundwater very hard.
To combat hard water, a whole house AquaLux Water Softener uses a sodium ion exchange process to remove the hardness minerals. This protects your plumbing and makes cleaning easier.
Other Tests the FHA May Require
In addition to the standard tests, the FHA requires the water to be tested for anything that could impact the property value or pose a health hazard. Other contaminants they may test for include:
Hydrogen sulfide - rotten egg odor in well water indicates bacteria breaking down sulfur compounds
Iron - red/brown staining from excessive iron in the water
Manganese - black staining from high levels of this mineral
Turbidity - cloudiness due to excessive silt, sand or clay
pH - indicates whether the water is acidic, neutral or alkaline
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) - elevated TDS can cause taste/odor issues and water spots
The FHA requires levels of these contaminants to meet EPA secondary standards for aesthetics. If any are elevated, treatment with the appropriate Aqua-Wise system can resolve the issues.
When is FHA Water Testing Required?
The FHA requires a current water test report any time a property:
Has a private well or shared water system
Has a private sewage disposal system like a septic tank
Had a previous water test showing issues
Has had any event potentially compromising water quality
Testing is not required on properties serviced by a municipal water supply. However, lead screening may be recommended for older homes with lead plumbing components.
How Recent Must the Water Test Be?
FHA water testing must be completed by a certified lab no more than 90 days prior to the date of loan closing. Exceptions may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.
If an earlier test is available, the FHA may require a more current test if there are any issues that could have changed in the interim. It is best to plan the water test timing accordingly with your lender.
Using a Certified Laboratory
The water testing must be performed by a certified lab following proper sampling methods and EPA protocols. The lab report must include the collection date, specific test methods, and certification information.
Examples of accredited labs in the Tampa area include:
Bio-Tech Consulting Inc.
Aqua-Wise partners with certified labs to simplify water testing when financing your home. We can collect and submit samples to ensure valid current results.
Potential Outcomes of FHA Water Testing
There are a few potential outcomes when you receive your FHA water test report:
Water passes - no issues were detected and no further action is required. Loan approval can proceed.
Minor issues - aesthetic problems like hardness, iron or odor that do not stop approval. These can be resolved with treatment systems.
Major issues - health hazards like bacteria or excess lead require treatment before closing.
Well disapproval - serious issues may mean replacing the well to continue loan approval.
In most cases, water treatment systems can resolve any problems detected through FHA testing. An Aqua-Wise specialist will evaluate your test results and recommend the right solutions to pass.
Water Treatment Solutions for FHA Properties
Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions has extensive experience ensuring properties pass FHA water testing requirements in the Tampa Bay area. Some of our most effective systems include:
The AquaLux Water Softener makes hard well water gentle by removing calcium, magnesium and other minerals. This prevents scale buildup and improves cleaning ability.
AquaGuard UV Disinfection systems destroy 99.9% of bacteria and viruses for clean, safe well water. UV light provides chemical-free disinfection.
An AquaCarbonGuard Carbon Filter effectively reduces nitrates and other inorganic contaminants through a catalytic carbon media.
The AquaRevive Reverse Osmosis System is the ultimate treatment solution when your water needs specialized filtration for health hazards like arsenic, fluoride, sodium and more.
For removing lead, AquaBlue Whole House Filters combine multiple media to remove metals, chemicals, sediment and other contaminants throughout your home's plumbing.
WellFusion Well Water Treatment packages combine the right technologies like filtration, softening and UV to resolve multiple water issues in one simple system.
AquaPurity Industrial & Commercial RO Systems provide advanced water treatment for apartment buildings, offices, retail, schools and large facilities.
With proper water testing and treatment, we can resolve any water quality issues that arise during the FHA home buying process.
Schedule a Free Water Test for FHA Properties
If you need FHA water testing for a Tampa area home purchase, Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions offers FREE well water and lead screening to identify any issues before they delay closing.
We partner with certified labs for accurate testing and provide full service installation of treatment systems when needed. Take advantage of financing options and maintenance plans for simplified ownership.
With Aqua-Wise Water Treatment, you can pass FHA requirements and ensure the water in your new home is clean, safe and ready to enjoy. We handle the testing and treatment, so you can focus on the excitement of your new property.