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Pond and Lake Water

Testing your pond or lake water is an important step for assessing its quality and to help prevent problems before they occur. For ponds or lakes with an existing water quality program, testing is an essential tool for diagnosing the cause of the problem and determining suitable treatment options.

The tests offered below and the recommendations that you will receive with your test report assume that your pond or lake is used for recreational purposes. If your pond or lake is used as a source of drinking water for livestock, the sample should be submitted through the laboratory's livestock drinking water program.

Pond and Lake Water Test Packages

Two test packages are available. The Basic Pond/Lake Water Package includes essential tests for assessing pond/lake water quality. The Basic Pond/Lake Water Package Plus Bacteria includes tests from the basic package plus E. Coli bacteria. E. Coli testing is recommended for ponds or lakes that are used for swimming, boating, or other recreational activities where there is close human contact with the water.

Service Fees

ServiceIncludes the following:Fee
WP01: Basic Pond/Lake Water Package pH, total dissolved solids, nitrate-nitrogen, alkalinity, aluminum, iron, manganese, phosphorus, sulfate, and hardness $42.00
WP02: Basic Pond/Lake Water Package plus Bacteria pH, total dissolved solids, nitrate-nitrogen, alkalinity, aluminum, iron, manganese, phosphorus, sulfate, and hardness and E. Coli $70.00

Submitting Your Sample

To submit a pond or lake water sample to the laboratory, you should first obtain a free sample mailer, available from the laboratory or from many county offices of Penn State Extension. Payment for the specific test package selected must be submitted with sample. Alternatively, if you are requesting the WP01 Basic Pond/Lake Package (without bacteria) you may submit a water sample (½ quart or 2 cups required) in your own plastic container along with a Pond/Lake water submission form (pdf format).

Payment must be submitted with sample. Please follow sampling procedures provided in the write-up on How to Collect a Pond/Lake Water Sample and send your sample to the laboratory so that it arrives within 36 to 48 hours of sampling. If submitting a sample for the WP02 test package (includes bacteria) you must, however, obtain a test package since a special, sterile bottle is required for the bacteria test. Samples for bacteria must arrive at the lab within 30 hours of sampling and by Thursday of any given week. The lab cannot accept samples for bacteria on a Friday.

Tested by the Penn State Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory.