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Sampling Procedures

For Accurate Water Testing

Steps required for taking a water sample will vary for different tests. Timeliness and cleanliness are important when collecting any water sample. Use the sterile collection bottles from our lab and not your own bottles. 

A water sample needs to be submitted to the lab within 48 hours of collection. For some tests, it must be kept cold prior to testing. Care must be taken to prevent anything but the water from contacting the inside of the bottle or the cap. 

Be sure to download the required paperwork to return with your water sample.

General Sampling Procedures

For most water tests, follow these steps when collecting a sample. Additional requirements for certain tests are listed below.

  • Take the sample close to the pump, before the water goes through a treatment system.
  • Do not take the sample from a swing-type faucet.
  • Inspect the faucet for leaks. Select another faucet if there is leaking.
  • Remove the aerator.
  • Disinfect the faucet with bleach or a flame.
  • Run the water several minutes to clear the line.
  • Take the sample midstream.
  • Do not touch the sides of the collection bottle, the opening or inside of the cap.
  • If needed, store the sample in the refrigerator before taking to the lab.
  • Transport the sample in a cooler or ship in an insulated container.

Forms for Contractors can be found here.

  1. Locate a sample tap near the well, preferably not a swing, leaky or outside faucet. Remove any screens and aerators.
  2. Choose a metal faucet that can be sterilized properly. Sterilize the metal tip of the faucet by heating with a torch or flame. Do not flame faucet if there are plastic internal parts.
  3. If metal faucet is not available, sterilize the tip of a plastic faucet with 95% ethyl alcohol.
  4. Let water run for 2 minutes. Reduce the flow to a pencil width. Let water run for 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove the cap from the sample bottle without touching the rim of the bottle or inside of the cap. Place cap on a clean surface, such as a clean paper towel.
  6. Fill bottle up to the line. Avoid splashing.
  7. Return sample to U.S. Water within 30 hours.

*Sample Records Will Be Maintained for 5 Years Before Disposal

Requires A Metals Testing Bottle

  1. Locate an indoor sample tap that does not leak.
  2. Let the water run for several minutes.
  3. Fill the bottle leaving 1″ of space between water & cap.
  4. Metals samples can be stored at room temperature until they arrive at our laboratory.
  5. Special Instructions for Lead & Copper
    • If you suspect lead solder, lead pipes, or are uncertain about the possible lead (copper) source, the testing should be a “first draw” sample – one taken from a drinking faucet after water has not been run for 6 hours or more (EPA).
    • If you suspect a new submersible pump, lead service line, connection, lead well screen, packing collar, or checking the well as the source, follow Steps 1-4 above.

Sample Records Will Be Maintained for 5 Years Before Disposal

  1. Locate an indoor sample tap that does not leak.
  2. Let the water run for several minutes.
  3. Fill the bottle leaving 1″ of space between water & cap.
  4. Keep sample on ice and return to U.S. Water, LLC within 48 Hours.

Sample Records Will Be Maintained for 5 Years Before Disposal

Samples Must Reach Our Lab Within 48 Hours

 
  1. Nitrate can be taken from the same bottle as fluoride if both tests are needed.
  2. Locate an indoor sample tap that does not leak.
  3. Let the water run for several minutes.
  4. Fill the bottle leaving 1″ of space between water & cap.
  5. Keep sample on ice and return to U.S. Water, LLC within 48 Hours.

Sample Records Will Be Maintained for 5 Years Before Disposal