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How to Collect a Pond/Lake Water Sample

Important: You must fill the larger bottle with the yellow label for either pond/lake water test package (WP01 or WP02). If you have chosen the WP02 (basic plus bacteria) package, you will also need to collect water in the bottle with the green label (bacteria bottle).

Bottle for all tests except bacteria (large bottle, yellow label)

The largest sample bottle with the yellow label is used for all chemical analyses except bacteria. If you have selected either of the pond/lake water test packages, you will need to collect water in this sample container.

This sample should be collected at a location that is representative of the water in the pond or lake. This is most often found at a deeper location away from these sources of water (i.e. away from the stream, spring or other source of water feeding into the pond or lake). Two good locations to collect the sample would be from a dock or swimming platform or at the pipe or stream leading out of the pond/lake. Rinse the bottle three times with pond/lake water. After rinsing, submerge the bottle below the water level and allow it to fill completely to the top. Screw the lid on tightly to prevent leakage. Refrigerate the sample until you are ready to send it to the laboratory.

Bacteria Sample Bottle (Green Label)

If you have selected the WP02 package that includes testing for E. coli bacteria, you should 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.

Use the same location to collect this sample as you did for the larger, yellow labeled bottle explained above (well mixed, deeper location away from source of water). Carefully twist the lid to break the seal and remove the lid from the sample container. 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. It is important that you do not touch or lay the lid down on the ground to prevent bacterial contamination on the inside of the bottle or cap.

Remember to refrigerate the samples until you are ready to send them to the laboratory. Keep in mind that water samples for bacteria analysis must reach the laboratory within 30 hours of collection to produce accurate results. 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.