Water Quality Monitoring & Testing
Water Quality Monitoring
One of the main areas of Caminos de Agua's work is to continually test water from wells and taps in the Independence Watershed region, in order to monitor the changing water quality in the region.
We test water from urban and rural community drinking wells in the region (for free) and for private clients (usually for a fee), and also work on water quality monitoring studies in partnership with various Mexican and international universities and institutions.
Since 2012, we have collaborated with groups such as the University of Guanajuato, Texas A&M University, Kansas State University, Northern Illinois University, and CODECIN (Coalition in Defense of the Independence Watershed) to undertake such studies.
We try to make the water quality data that we find as open-source and available to the public as possible, to allow you and your neighbours to see the water quality in your area. We publish most of our data on an interactive map of the region, explorable below.
Water Risk Map
For the best viewing experience, we recommend NOT using Safari to explore this map.
Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, Opera and Edge all offer excellent browser viewing experiences. Double-click or 'shift-click-drag' to zoom into certain regions.
The interactive maps above highlights the risk presented by fluoride, arsenic, or a combination of the two minerals ("total risk") throughout the region.
For healthy drinking water, the maximum recommended concentration of fluoride given by the Mexican Standard (modification to NOM-127-SSA1-1994) and by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 1.5 mg/L, and for arsenic the Mexican Standard gives a maximum recommended concentration of 25 µg/L (or 0.025 mg/L) and the WHO gives a maximum recommended concentration of 10 µg/L (or 0.01 mg/L).
Several of the data points in San Miguel de Allende were provided by the municipal water authority (SAPASMA). Caminos de Agua cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. The locations of the SAPASMA sites are also estimated, as exact coordinates of the wells were not provided.
If you would like to have your water tested, please scroll down for more information on water testing.
Also, if you live in San Miguel de Allende and can see that your colonia does not contain any points, we may offer to test your water for free every few months, as part of our ongoing Urban Water Quality Monitoring Program (UWQMP). Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Water Quality Testing
Caminos de Agua provides water quality testing services to a variety of different groups. We test water in our lab in San Miguel de Allende. Please keep reading for more details.
Who do we test water for?
- Urban and rural community drinking wells in the region, which are tested for free. Please click here if you are sending water from a community well.
- Private clients, who we charge. Please keep reading for more details.
- Other community groups, sometimes tested for free. If you want to test samples from a local community, we may be willing to test them for free, especially if people's health may be affected and/or if you are unable to pay. Please contact us at email@example.com for more information.
- Local study groups, such as our Urban Water Quality Monitoring Program (UWQMP), which are tested for free.
How can I get my water tested?
To get your water tested through Caminos de Agua, you'll need to complete the following four steps. Please scroll down through this page to explore these steps, or click on one of the steps in the list below to jump straight there.
Step 1 – Consider which type of testing you would like
Full Test (Fluoride, pH, ARSENIC, Total Dissolved Solids)
Cost: MXN $ 750
Processing time: 2 weeks
Description: This test covers the two most commonly-occurring mineral contaminants in the region – fluoride and arsenic – as well as giving information on the pH and amount of total dissolved solids.
(If you are a member of a group such as the Urban Water Quality Monitoring Program (UWQMP), or you have arranged to send us a group of samples for special testing, or you are sending a sample from a rural community or urban well, then please select this option on the online form below.)
Quick Reverse Osmosis (RO) system efficiency Test
Cost: MXN $ 200
Processing time: 24 hours
Description: This test is for people with a reverse osmosis filtration system, who want to make sure their system is working correctly. The test does not give results on the levels of specific contaminants like fluoride and arsenic, but it does give a quick result showing the overall efficiency of the system (% removal of dissolved ions).
OTHER TESTING (E.G. BIOLOGICAL, NITRATES)
Cost: Dependent on request.
Processing time: Dependent on request.
Description: We are able to test for other contaminants upon special request. We have the capacity to test for total coliforms and E. coli (a potentially harmful fecal coliform) using the widely renowned IDEXX Quanti method, which is used as standard by governments around the globe. We are also able to test for nitrates, which may present a problem in surface water in high-intensive agricultural areas. Such tests can also be combined with one of the tests above.
Alternatives: If you are looking to test for bacteria, you may find it quicker and easier to test through another lab in San Miguel. Click here for a list of options.
Step 2 – Complete an online form to senD us your details
Please note, if you would like to test your water through Caminos de Agua's Lab, you may need to know your GPS coordinates.
Please click here for more information on how to find your coordinates.
Step 3 – collect your sample(s)
Once you have completed the form above to send us your details, then you're ready to collect your water sample(s)! Here are the instructions for how to collect them:
for the Full Test (Fluoride, Arsenic, pH, Total Dissolved Solids):
- Find a container: Find an empty PLASTIC bottle or container with a capacity of 1 litre or more. A normal water bottle is fine. It does not need to be new, but it must be plastic.
- Let water flow: Turn on the tap (or sample water source) and let it run for 2-5 minutes, if you can.
- Clean the container: Half-fill the container with sample water, cap the container, and shake it vigorously to clean. Repeat this 3 times.
- Fill the container: Fill the container with sample water and cap it tightly.
- Label the container: Write the following on the container in permanent marker: your name, the first line of your address, and the date the sample was taken. If you are submitting multiple samples from the same address, please also write a brief description of the water sample on the container (e.g. "post-filter).
- (If you are submitting multiple samples for testing): Repeat these steps for each sample you would like to submit for testing.
For the Quick Reverse Osmosis (RO) system efficiency Test:
- Find two containers: Find two PLASTIC OR GLASS bottles or containers with a capacity of at least 100 mL each (but preferably at least 500 mL). A normal water bottle is fine. They do not need to be new, but they must be plastic or glass. One container will contain pre-filter water (water from the normal tap) and the other will contain post-filter water (water that has been treated by the filtration system you want to test).
- Let water flow: Turn on the tap (or sample water source) and let it run for 2-5 minutes, if you can. Do this for both the pre- and post-filter water sources if possible.
- Clean the containers: Half-fill the container with the relevant sample water, cap the container, and shake it vigorously to clean. Repeat this 3 times. Do this for each container, using the relevant sample water for each.
- Fill the containers: Fill each container with the relevant sample water and cap them tightly.
- Label the containers: Write the following on each container in permanent marker: your name, the first line of your address, the date the sample was taken, and whether the container contains normal tap water (write "pre-filter") or water treated by your filtration system (write "post-filter"). If you are submitting multiple samples from different filtration systems, then please also write a description of the filtration system on the containers (e.g. "reverse osmosis").
- (If you are testing multiple filtration systems): Repeat these steps for each filtration system you would like to test.
Step 4 – Drop off your Sample(S) at our Lab
Once you have submitted your details, we will contact you to confirm an appointment to come into the Caminos Lab. Please do not come to the lab if we have not confirmed an appointment with you by email or phone.
If you chose to pay by cash when submitting your details, then please remember to bring cash with you when you come. Exact change is appreciated.
Caminos Lab – Contact Details and Location
Federico Montes de Oca 2-C
San Miguel de Allende