The most common contaminants found in household water in Botetourt County were hardness, sodium, total coliform bacteria, total dissolved solids and E. coli.
Hardness is a measure of the calcium and magnesium in water, and comes from limestone geology. Nuisance hardness levels were found in 42% of Botetourt samples. Sodium concentrations above recommended levels are most likely the result of water softeners, used to remove hardness.
Total coliform bacteria presence is an indication that surface water may be entering a well and other more harmful microorganisms may be present. Total coliform was found in 40% of Botetourt County samples. E. coli were found in 10% of samples and are a sign that human or animal waste is entering the water supply.
Total dissolved solids, or TDS, is a measure of all dissolved impurities in water, and can be made up of sodium, nitrate, or other dissolved contaminants. It is a nuisance contaminant.