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How to Collect a Water Sample

Important: You must fill the bottle with the green label and the bottle with the yellow label when submitting a sample for any test package (WD01, WD02, WD03, WD04, WD05, WD06, WD07). The bottle with the orange label need only be filled when requesting WD03 or individual lead test.

First-Draw Lead Sample Bottle (Orange Label):

(Only required for WD03 and optional Lead Test)

  • The small plastic bottle with an orange label should be filled if you have selected the individual lead test or if you have selected the Aesthetics/Corrosivity Plus Lead (WD03).
  • Lead accumulates in water from pipes as the water sits in the pipe. For this reason, this water sample should be collected from water that has sat in the pipes for at least six hours (called a “first-draw” sample).
  • Collect this sample first thing in the morning from the faucet where you get most of your drinking water (usually the kitchen faucet) before any water has been run from the faucet. Do not run the water before collecting the sample. Simply remove the bottle lid, place the bottle under the faucet, and collect the first water out of the faucet in the morning. Fill the bottle to the top and screw the lid on tightly to prevent leakage.
  • Refrigerate until you are ready to send to the laboratory.

Bacteria Sample Bottle (Green Label):

(Must be filled for all test packages)

  • If you have selected any of the water testing packages or if you have selected coliform bacteria as a single test, you must collect water in the clear bottle with the green label for bacteria analysis. It is important that you use the correct bottle for the bacteria sample because only the bottle with the green label has been sterilized to prevent bacterial contamination of the sample. The bottle may contain a small white pill or powder. If it does, leave the pill or the powder in the bottle.
  • Choose an inside faucet to collect the bacteria sample and remove the faucet aerator. Turn on the cold water and allow the water to run for about five minutes to purge water from the plumbing and pipes and draw fresh water in from the water supply.
  • It is important that you do not touch or otherwise contaminate the inside of the bottle or cap. Carefully remove the lid from the sample container and hold the cap by the outside of the cap (if you touch the inside of the cap or bottle, you could contaminate the sample with bacteria).
  • Fill the container with water to the line marked “100 mL”. Screw the lid on tightly to prevent leakage.
  • Refrigerate the sample until you are ready to send to the laboratory. Samples for bacteria analysis must reach the laboratory within 30 hours of collection to produce accurate results.

Bottle for all tests except bacteria and first-draw lead (Yellow Label):

(Must be filled for all test packages)

  • If you have selected ANY of the water test packages or any single test beyond bacteria and first draw lead, you must collect water in this sample container.
  • To collect this sample, select an indoor faucet and run the water for five minutes (note: if you have already run the water for five minutes to collect the bacteria sample, you do not need to run the water again for this sample).
  • Rinse this bottle three times with water from your faucet by filling it about one third full, screw the cap on and shake the bottle a few times. Dump out the water and repeat this procedure two more times to completely rinse the bottle.
  • After you have rinsed the bottle three times, fill the bottle to the top and screw the lid on tightly to prevent leakage. Refrigerate the sample until you are ready to send it to the laboratory.

Place all sample bottles into the cooler provided with the kit. Be sure to also fill the 2 bags with fresh ice as labeled. Place all sample bottles and ice bags into the large plastic bag and seal it closed and place into cooler. Include completed submission form on top of the cooler inside the cardboard mailer box.

Send the sample cooler to the laboratory so that it arrives at the laboratory within 30 hours of sampling and no later than Thursday of any given week.