Water Test Sampling Instructions

Please feel free to contact the lab with any questions or concerns.

If water has not been used recently, (as in the case of a vacant or vacation home that is uninhabited for any length of time), allow water to run for 1 hr. minimum through an outside faucet prior to following the steps below (this will flush the well).

If well has recently been disinfected/chlorinated, make sure all traces of chlorine have been flushed out of the well.

Collect the sample from a regularly used cold water faucet (unless it is leaking or damaged in any way). However, do not use a kitchen faucet with a spray hose that pulls directly out of the faucet housing, and we strongly recommend avoiding swivel faucets and outdoor spigots if at all possible. The best location is usually a fixed bathroom faucet that is regularly used.

If the faucet is equipped with a strainer or aerator, remove (with washer) before collecting the sample. Clean the faucet with alcohol or bleach and wait for 1-2 minutes if testing will include a bacteria test. Allow water to run for at least 5 minutes (20 min if testing for Radon) before filling container(s). For most testing, the sample containers will consist of one large 16 ounce plastic bottle (this is for minerals) and one 4oz. sterile plastic container (this is for bacteria testing only). Do not touch the inner surface of the cap or mouth of the bottles. Collect the sample, filling to the top (4oz./100ml minimum) of the sterilized bacteria sample container. Fill the tall container for minerals to within ½ inch of the top. For Radon, please see instructions below.

If concerned with Lead & Copper in water due to plumbing corrosion (the most common source of lead & copper), a separate container will be needed for a "first draw" sample. This is performed by filling the containerwithout running the water at all after water has been sitting stagnant in the pipes for 6-10 hours. This is normally accomplished by running the water to flush the pipes, turning the water off for 6-10 hours, then filling the container first thing in the morning, or after a work day, prior to running any water in the home. The test kit does not include a separate container for this purpose. A clean plastic container is needed for this test - if a separate container was not obtained from the lab, a spring water container that has been rinsed with your water several times can be used. EPA recommends a 1 liter/quart container for this test.

A specific small glass vial is required for sampling. Three vials will be necessary if Radon and VOC's/MtBE will be tested. Allow the water to run for at least 20 minutes to flush out the well tank. The vial(s) must be filled to the very top without any air bubbles at all. This is accomplished by slowly filling the vial to near the top, then slowing the water flow down to a drip to fill the last bit. Allow the water to fill to just before overflowing, so that the water actually appears slightly higher than the rim of the vial. While holding completely upright, cap the vial tightly. Assure that there are no air bubbles by turning upside down and tapping gently. If any air bubbles rise up, even tiny ones, simply try again.

Deliver sample(s) to the laboratory as soon as possible after sampling. The water must be analyzed within approximately 24 hours if your testing includes Total Coliform/E.coli bacteria.

Samples should be refrigerated after sampling and transported in a chilled cooler. If returning by mail, do so in a manner that will assure delivery of the sample within approximately 24 hours from collection if testing includes Total Coliform / E.coli bacteria. If not testing for bacteria or nitrate/nitrite, regular US mail will be sufficient.

NOTE: Priority mail does not guarantee next day delivery to the lab! - we recommend UPS/FEDEX ground.

Samples may be brought into the laboratory Monday - Friday (8:00 am -5:00 pm) or placed in the fridge/cooler in our entry way before or after office hours any day of the week. Samples may also be placed in the entry fridge/cooler on weekends, but should be placed very shortly after sampling, as the fridge/cooler may not be checked for up to 24 hours on weekends. Please be sure to completely fill out both sides of the enclosed card.

Unless you have an established credit account with the Laboratory, payment must accompany the samples at the time they are dropped off. We accept checks, cash, and all major credit cards.

*If you would like to test for an odor problem of rotten egg (sulfide), or any item not listed on the information card, please call the lab for specific containers and sampling instructions.

If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us - we are here to help you!

Thank you for using Nelson Analytical Lab for your water testing!