What’s in Your Water?

by Katie Lee

Three reasons you should implement on-site water testing.

By Megan Glover

As a restaurant owner or manager, your to-do list never ends. You wear a lot of hats, you keep balls in the air, and your plate is always full. From managing your team to ensuring your patrons and guests are always having a positive experience, the quality of your establishment’s water is probably the last thing on your mind.

The truth of the matter is, you are too busy to be worried about water quality. That’s why an investment in testing your water is an investment in the future of your business, and the safety of your customers. From the faucet water in your kitchen to the soda machines used by staff, the toxins and harmful substances lurking within your facility might shock you.

Here’s why you need to invest in water testing for your restaurant: 

1. Your establishment may contain old lead pipes

Many of us have been conditioned to believe lead is a thing of the past. Over the years, lead has been removed from substances like paint, but unfortunately, we still have to worry about it showing up in our water due to old lead pipes that weren’t regulated until after the 1980s. The problem here is that unless you’re a plumber, you’ll never know whether or not your pipes have lead in them, which is why testing your water for lead is crucial — lead pipes were not banned from institutions and homes until the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments in 1986.

Lead is one of the most harmful chemicals found in water, especially for children who might be drinking it. The only way to eliminate lead from water is to filter it out. While some people believe that boiling water is the best way to get rid of lead in water, this is actually a myth. Boiling water actually causes lead particles to “loosen up,” making the water even more contaminated than before.

2. Your local utility company can only test so much

Lead is a problem local utility companies can’t solve, either. While local utility companies test for contaminants at their facility, there’s not much they can do once the water is flowing through your pipes. Because every plumbing system is different, testing for lead is a difficult thing to regulate and measure from a community-wide or city-wide perspective.

Bottom line: While local utilities work hard to ensure the water leaving their facility is safe, your facility’s plumbing system is like the wild, wild west. Most water contamination occurs in private plumbing systems or service lines leading up to your facility, meaning that even if you have cleaner-than-average city water, your personal water could still be at risk.

3. Your customers are concerned with their water quality

According to the latest Gallup poll, Americans are growing increasingly more worried about polluted drinking water. The percentage of concerned citizens grew from 55% in 2015, to 61% in 2016. Give your customers peace of mind by ensuring the water they drink from your tap, water fountain or kitchen is clean.

And don’t stop there. If you manage a large facility, other components of your facility (not just your tap) may also be contaminated because they’re sourced from the same water line. Ice machines, soda machines, and the water your on-premise staff may be cooking or working with could be contaminated, too. Go above and beyond for your customers by ensuring all water sources on your premises are clean.

Investing in water testing for your establishment will be one of the best business decisions you make this year. Keeping your water safe from contaminants like lead and arsenic is an important decision that will increase trust and build a better relationship between you and your customers. By making an investment in the health of your customers, you’ll be making a smart investment in the life of your business.


— Megan Glover is CEO and cofounder of 120WaterAudit, a subscription-based water testing service. Launched in 2016, the company’s mission is to provide an easy way to frequently check for harmful contaminants in tap water. Email the author at [email protected].

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