The most common contaminants found in household water in Virginia Beach were sodium, iron, manganese, total coliform bacteria, and hardness.
Hardness is composed of calcium and magnesium, which originates in bedrock such as limestone. Sodium concentrations above recommended levels are most likely the result of water softeners, used to remove hardness. Sodium can have negative health effects in excess levels.
Iron and manganese are considered nuisance contaminants and can cause staining and a metallic taste.
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 20% of the Virginia Beach samples.