Should you test drinking water before buying a cottage?

You should always test the tap water to see if tastes all right. But it’s more important to check to see if it’s safe to drink first. “There are places where the water comes straight from the lake, you get it checked, and it comes back as potable,” says Chris Winney of Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty. “But we all learned a lot from Walkerton’s E. coli contamination, and when we’re talking about giving water to your children, you want to be sure it’s safe.” Whether water is coming from the lake or from a well, Parry Sound realtor John Sallinen routinely writes in as a condition of sale that the seller provide two or three consecutive water samples, two weeks apart, so that water potability can be checked over time. “Even if sellers are purifying their water with multiple filters and ultraviolet treatment, you still want to be sure,” he says. Winney also suggests you could test the water yourself, with a kit from the local public health unit, or check with the local lake association: Local water quality is generally at the top of their list of concerns.