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Why test water quality? Concern about water quality often leads consumers to ask questions such as "What is in my water?" or "Is my drinking water safe?" All water from natural sources contains dissolved substances. These substances are often called contaminants, especially when the amounts present are at possibly harmful or problematic levels. The substances in water can result from either natural processes or human activities. At low concentrations, many do not cause known harmful effects and may be beneficial. Research shows some substances may be harmful only when present at high enough concentrations. The only way to know if the water you use for drinking and cooking contains potentially harmful substances at levels high enough to be of concern is to have the water tested. Analytical testing can determine what substances are present and their concentration levels.