bookmark_borderHow Is Tap Water Testing For Contamination

Tips for testing with customers without making a fool of yourself

Once in a while, a QA manager comes up with the grand plan of testing with customers before a go-live event. The benefits seem obvious: the QA tester gains exposure to an actual customer and their specific application user workflows. The customer benefits by imparting their knowledge on how the application works in their setting with a member of the development staff. The problem is that the majority of testers don’t receive training before being sent out to the customer.

For example, customer service or sales personnel receive at least basic training on how to approach customers, what to say, what not to say, and basic business principles for interacting with customers directly as company representatives. However, QAs typically don’t receive this information.

Now, one would assume that most experienced testers have enough professional knowledge and skills to manage on their own. But think about that for a moment more, and consider some of the QA testers you know or have worked with. There are likely several examples of well-meaning, highly intelligent people with little to no personal interaction skills. Is it really wise to send unprepared personnel to a customer site without spending time reviewing etiquette and expectations?

The answer is no, and it really isn’t respectful to the employee or the customer, but it happens all the time. In order to receive the benefits of this practice, employees need to be prepared with at least the basics of how to gain information without offending or otherwise unintentionally causing harm to a business relationship with a customer. QA testers should equip themselves by thinking through possible situations and keeping the following tips in mind to make the experience worthwhile for everyone involved.

Respect is a two-way street

When arriving at the customer’s business, remember that mutual respect is essential. You may not get it, but you need to give it. It’s important to acknowledge that development staff and customers operate with different objectives for the software, whether in workflows or points of view. Discover more about this by observing their actions or reading through their tests. See if you notice a common theme where the application has repeatedly failed for them or they’re working around a configuration setting they don’t realize they can change. Ask direct questions in a professional manner. Explain what you’re trying to accomplish by gaining information about their workflow up front, so participants have a chance to give you the data you’re looking for.

Blue Water Task Force

Why do you want to test the water? What are you concerned about?

It is important to have a clear objective for your water-testing program before you begin. A clear objective or defined purpose will help you design a water testing program to meet your chapter’s unique interests and needs. All the rest of the details can then follow.

Does your chapter suspect a pollution problem at a particular beach? Are there beaches in your area that are not being tested by the authorities? Are there seasonal gaps? Are you looking for a program to activate your membership or to reach out to youth? Perhaps you have a data need for an ongoing campaign.

Who else is testing your beaches?

Before you choose what beaches you want to sample, or if additional testing is even necessary, you should find out who is monitoring water quality in your area and which beaches they are sampling.

Where & when should we sample?

Once you determine who is testing in your area, look for any gaps: either beaches that aren’t being sampled or perhaps months or seasons when no testing is being done at all. You also might want to test the water at the most popular surfing beaches or at beaches where you suspect or know there are sources of pollution nearby.

How much money can my chapter afford to spend on this program?

Testing water costs money. The Blue Water Task Force uses IDEXX Enterolert/Quanti-tray Sealer methodology to measure enterococcus bacteria levels in water samples. This method is an EPA- approved method for sampling recreational waters and is easy for volunteers and students to learn and use competently.  Bacteria results are obtained after a 24 hour sample incubation period, but this method is somewhat expensive.

Lead in Drinking Water

What is lead?

Lead is a toxic metal that is found naturally in the air, soil, and water. It is also used in mining, manufacturing, and burning of fossil fuels. The amount of lead Canadians are exposed to has decreased since the 1970s, mainly due to the removal of lead in gasoline, paint, and solder in food cans

Who is at risk?

Although people of all ages are at risk of lead poisoning, it is most serious for infants, young children and pregnant women. Children absorb lead more easily than adults and are more susceptible to its harmful effects

With exposure to low levels of lead, symptoms are often not obvious, but can still be a danger to your health. Talk to your health care provider if you are worried about lead exposure. A simple blood test can find out your lead levels.

Did you know?

The maximum acceptable concentration for lead in drinking water is 5ug/L (Government of Canada, 2019). If your water supply is higher than 5ug/L and you have kids or are pregnant, you should use a different source, such as bottled water.

Is there lead in my drinking water?

The amount of lead in natural water supplies in Canada is very low. However, lead can enter the water supply from lead pipes, lead-containing brass fittings, or faucets. Homes built before 1975 often have lead pipes and those built until 1990 may have lead containing fittings.

Water Testing

The Medical Health Officer advices that, unless you get your water from a public water system, all water used for human consumption should be treated before use

It is up to individuals obtaining their water directly from wells, creeks, rivers and lakes, to treat their water before being used for drinking, washing dishes, brushing their teeth, etc

Options for treatment range from boiling water, using bottled water to installing in-home water treatment systems.

Water Testing Services Information

The documents below contain information regarding water testing services available to residents of Cattaraugus County and educational information on how to interpret your results

The “CCHD Certified Water Testing Services Price Sheet” contains a list of all potable water testing services available through the Cattaraugus County Health Department Laboratory.

The “Coliform Bacteria Brochure” contains information regarding bacteriological testing (the standard test for potability).  This brochure aims to help interpret the results of your water sample.

The “Nitrates in Drinking Water” download contains information regarding common sources of nitrates in drinking water and way to reduce their impact on your water supply.

“CCHD Instructions for Disinfection of Private Water Systems” describes how to perform a temporary disinfection of your water system.  The Department recommends that this be performed following repairs to your system, whenever starting up a seasonal water supply, whenever a bacteriological water test indicates contamination, or whenever you suspect that your well might have been contaminated.

bookmark_borderWhat To Look For During Your Home Inspection

What You Should Expect from a Home Inspection

If you’re buying a new home, then sooner or later you’ll need to have a home inspection done. While not usually required, obtaining a home inspection is common practice in real estate and is almost entirely done for the benefit of the purchaser, even if they’re paying for it out of their own pocket.

A home inspector is a qualified person who will take a detailed look at your home and alert you to any safety hazards, hidden damage, and the expected life span of various mechanical appliances throughout the home. A house inspection may give you some negotiating power to reduce the price or request repairs of any identified issues before continuing with the sale.

What to expect during a home inspection

A house inspection is a routine process during which a home inspector takes a look at the house. Once you are under contract on a home, you’re ready to hire a home inspector. Based on what the home inspector finds, you can decide to back out of the contract without a penalty, or you can proceed with negotiations.

Meeting your home inspector at the property.

It’s always a good idea to meet your home inspector at the subject property. This way you can get to know them and ask them any questions. After the inspection, the home inspector can talk you through any issues that he/she uncovered while going through the house.

Your home inspector should inspect every nook and cranny.

A good home inspector will check out every part of your house. They’ll go in the attic. They’ll go into the basement. They’ll check every door and window, and even the roof. The home inspector will also run your water to check for potential plumbing issues. A home inspection will typically last two to three hours or more — depending on the size of the home.

Choosing The Best Home Inspector Near You

Does the home inspector have proper insurance?

Choosing one that is insured should be at the top of your list of questions. Although some areas do not require inspectors to be insured, it’s in your best interest to work with one that is. Performing a home inspection does carry some level of risk for the inspector and having insurance protects you, the client, should the inspector become injured.

Are they a member of and certified by a professional association?

Being affiliated with an association requires the inspector to follow a strict code of ethics. These associations usually require some course study and passing exams before becoming a member and receiving any certifications.

Does the inspector have a professional website?

While having a good website does not guarantee the inspector is a good one, it does offer potential clients an opportunity to learn some important information about them. Having a website with information about the inspectors license, qualifications, insurance, and what is included in an inspection should be made available. Some inspectors offer additional conveniences like online scheduling, payments, and report access.

Do they have positive online reviews?

Referrals are important when researching home inspectors, but you should also check to see if they have any online reviews. A quick online search should  reveal them if any are available. You can often learn a little about their personality, inspection style, and level of professionalism from them

Find Your Answers to Home Inspection Cost and Home Inspection Service Questions

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.

What does a home inspection include?

The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.

Why do I need a home inspection?

Buying a home could be the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.

What will it cost?

The inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending on a number of factors such as the size of the house, its age and possible optional services such as septic, well or radon testing.

Why can’t I do it myself?

Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. An inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance and home safety. He or she knows how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as why they fail.

Things Every Buyer Should Know About Home Inspections

Congratulations, your offer was accepted and you’re going to be a homeowner! After you’ve made all your phone calls to share the big news and sipped on a glass or two of celebratory campaign, it’s time to move on to the next step in the home buying process: the home inspection.

Inspections are Optional

To those unfamiliar with real estate, it can seem like inspections are just what’s expected. Watching enough reality TV can give you the impression that everyone completes all of their inspections because they are waiting for a huge problem to arise (right in time for commercial break, of course). In the real world, it’s up to the buyer to decide which inspections they would like completed – if any at all.

Buyers Are Responsible for Inspections

Most first-time homebuyers don’t realize that they are responsible for the inspections. This means that, in order to get to the settlement table, they agree to hire the home inspector, have the inspections completed within a reasonable amount of time, and shoulder the cost.

The Inspector Must Be Certified

A home inspector and a contractor are not the same thing. While a contractor may have know how to fix existing home maintenance problems, home inspectors are specifically trained on how to identify problems, even if they are slight enough to be easily missed by others.

What Do Home Inspections Cover?

As a rule of thumb, think of a home inspection like a well visit to the doctor. Your doctor takes looks at several of your body’s individual components – reflexes, blood pressure, and medical history – to make an overall all determination of your health. Home inspectors work in much the same way.

Things Home Inspectors Secretly Want to Tell You

Choose Home Inspectors Wisely

Don’t rely on real real estate agents to recommend home inspectors, a home improvement coach based. Instead, find a certified, independent inspector.

Make Sure the Inspection is Thorough

It should take home inspectors between two and four hours to check a house. “Any inspection that takes less than that is a warning,”. A small home with no basement might take less time.

Ask the Right Questions

Inspectors can’t tell you not to buy a home—they’re not supposed to give real estate advice. But they should outline major issues such as foundation damage

Prepare Your Space Properly

Sellers: prepare your house for home inspectors the same way you would for a showing. We also suggests taking care of smaller repairs, like loose doorknobs, before the inspector arrives.

Read the Full Report (Not Just the Summary)

Home inspectors use the summary to outline high-priority issues, but your concerns might extend beyond that.

bookmark_borderMold Inspection And Remediation

How to Pass a Home Inspection: Solve Problems First

One of the biggest roadblocks standing between you and the successful sale of your home could be the home inspection. Don’t lie awake nights worrying about what the inspector might find. Instead, conduct your own inspection, with the help of experts if you need them, and pass the inspection with flying colors. Here are some potential problem areas to investigate:

Wipe out mold and mildew

Toxic mold has gone high profile in recent years. So mold and mildew stains and odors can scare buyers away on sight. Chances are you won’t even get a reasonable offer if mold and mildew are suspected. Not all mold is toxic, but buyers don’t know that. Even if the mold in your house is the “normal” variety, find it and kill it.

Terminate the termites

You may not know that termites eat the wood from the inside out. And they can munch through quite a lot of it before you realize they are there. They don’t just feast on wood either. They have an appetite for a lot of tasty morsels around your home, including flooring, insulation, books, furniture, carpet—they have even been known to chew through swimming pool liners.

Climb up higher

The home inspector will climb up on your roof, so make sure you get there before he does. There are several things to look for. Check the fitness of the roof by looking for loose or missing shingles, and repair them if needed. Even if your roof is old, it’s considered in working condition if there are no leaks. Look for damage to the chimney, flashing or eaves. Clean out the gutters and make sure downspouts are clear and water is running away from the foundation. A simple chimney cleaning can prevent chimney fires and damage to your entire house.

Wash up

A good power washing gets rid of stains, algae, mold, mildew and moss. Pay special attention to your decks and porches. Algae and mold can make your deck slippery and dangerous. After you’ve cleaned things up, seal the deck, porch or stairs to help prevent future water damage. Bare wood soaks up water like a sponge, while sealing makes the water bead up and roll off. And your deck will look nicer, too.

How Does Mold Affect Home Sales

Selling a home with mold is not something you want to mess around with. There are buyers that will bail out of a home sale at the first mention of mold discovered in a property! Everyone is familiar with common household mold, the fungi that pop up in all kinds of moist environments. It grows on food left too long in the fridge, for instance. Unfortunately for homeowners, it also grows in attics, bathrooms, basements, and virtually any moist surface around your home.

If you see black spots developing on a wall in a poorly ventilated room, for example, you are probably noticing the beginning stages of a mold problem. Mold is all around you, generally in airborne spores, searching for an ideal place to land and develop. In small amounts, it is not a problem, but when it finds a moist place in your home and you fail to notice it, it can quickly develop into a serious problem.

When to inspect for mold

One good thing about mold- if you can see it, you have mold in your house. Seeing mold in the cracks and corners of your walls definitely means it is growing and spreading more spores. Keep in mind that mold may also grow in places you cannot see, such as in your ducts or between your walls. It may also form colonies so tiny they escape the eye. A few situations should make you look for any mold problems in your house.

  • Water damage. If your basement flooded, roof leaked, or a broken pipe sprayed water all over the kitchen, you need to inspect for mold. Any place that got wet and was not quickly dried (within 24 to 48 hours) could become contaminated by mold.
  • Purchasing a new home. There is no way to know what kind of water damage may have happened in the house you are planning to buy. The only way to find out if mold is present is to do a mold inspection.
  • After a house has been unoccupied. If a house has been closed up and unoccupied for months or years, humidity could have built up inside and caused mold to grow. This is especially a problem in warmer areas with high humidity.
  • After mold remediation. If you have gone through the often expensive and difficult steps to deal with a mold problem, regular mold inspections are a good idea to make sure you really got rid of it all.
  • You see some mold. If you notice some green, blue, black or white stuff growing in your house, do a mold inspection to make sure you find it all. It might not be restricted to one location.

What to do if you find mold in a Home Inspection

If mold is found in a home inspection, remember one simple thing – call Canada’s Restoration Services. We have years of experience and training when it comes to safe and proper mold remediation and mold removal. We are fully licensed, insured, and bonded and perform all mold remediation according to industry standards.

Whether you are the buyer or the seller, we provide the necessary report and estimate to save the sale. For a one-time Inspection Report Fee, a dedicated project manager will:

  • Inspect the property for mold growth
  • Identify the source of the mold growth
  • Provide a detailed report with pictures and findings of the situation and
  • Provide a quote on the safe mold remediation

Mold is disclosed or identified but you are not sure whether you need to hire a professional to remove it.

In many cases minor mold problems (less than about 10 square feet of mold) can easily be handled by the home owner with a free weekend afternoon and a few basic supplies from the hardware store. If your client prefers to hire a professional instead, mold remediation – when done by a professional and ethical company – should not be expensive for minor problems. Close more deals by advising your clients that minor mold problems should never be costly to fix and can often be done by the “Do It Yourselfers” in one day.