We can test any water in your home for bacteria (coliform or E. coli).
- Water from the city will be tested through a clean tap on the cold side of the line (if this sample is to test a city water system, there is no fee).
- All other water can be tested (water heater, water after a filter, water from an ice machine, water softener, or any other filtering device).
- Water used for emergency storage may also be tested for coliform, E. coli, or a Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC).
A sample taken that is intended to test the city's water supply system for coliforms will not be charged a fee. All sampling to test personal devices (such as filtration systems, ice machines, etc.), well water samples, HPC (Heterotrophic Plate Count) tests, or MPN (Most Probable Number) tests will be charged a $12 fee that must be paid prior to the sample being collected and tested.
Collecting Your Own Water Sample
In order to test your own water, you will first need to fill out the Water Sample for Bacteriologic Examination form. The instructions for sampling are found on the back of this form:
- Select a tap that is clean, free from leaking, has no aerator, screen, or treated water supply (soft water, etc.). This is to ensure that the sample is checking the water for bacteria and not the tap.
- Let the water run 3 to 5 minutes (do not change flow of water after original setting).
- Remove lid carefully from sample bottle (do not touch inside of bottle or lid).
- Place bottle under running water and collect at least 100 ml of water (seal container immediately).
- Transport to lab ASAP (within 24 hours). The sample should be kept cold. (Between 34°F (1°C) and 50°F (10°C).)
Samples Not in Certified Containers
The health department can run a sample that is not in a certified container, but a qualifier will be noted in regards to the container not being certified.
- When using a container that is not sterile or does not have a chlorine neutralizer (sodium thiosulfate) the sample results may not be accurate.
- Data qualifiers are used in lab reports to indicate a problem or irregularity with the analytical result. (Results have less certainty with a container not certified sterile or without sodium thiosulfate.)
Out-of-State Water Samples
You may bring a water sample from anywhere, including from out-of-state, as long as it does not exceed the 30 hour hold time. (See below.)
Procedures and Time Constraints
Samples need to be received in the lab ASAP and will be rejected for coliform analysis if more 30 hours has elapsed since the time of collection. Samples to be analyzed should be kept between 34°F (1°C) and 50°F (10°C). Do not allow sample to freeze. If the sample is to be analyzed for Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC), it must arrive within 6 hours of taking sample and lab must be notified.
- Samples should be submitted before 3:00 pm:
- Monday –Thursday for coliform; and,
- Monday – Wednesday for HPC.
- Not the day before a legal holiday.
Testing Filtered Water
There is a $12 fee for any sample submitted to the lab and $12 for each test performed (HPC and coliform are separate test).