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Department of Health Services

Public Health Regional Laboratory

Water Sample Collection Instructions


Instructions for collection and submission of water samples for bacteriological testing from private sources


To obtain a meaningful result, read and observe the procedure listed here carefully.


The test performed in this laboratory is for bacterial quality and will not ascertain the chemical quality of the water. As well, the results cannot be used for legal purposes or certain real estate transactions because an authorized representative has not collected the sample through a Chain of Custody procedure.


Collect the sample the same day you plan to bring it to the lab. If you are unable to submit the sample within 1 hour of collection, keep it refrigerated or on an ice pack. While transporting the sample to the lab, use an ice pack and keep it out of direct sunlight. Samples more than 24 hours old are not acceptable for testing.


Sample Collection Preparation

  1. Select a faucet from the cold water supply that will represent a sample of the main water source (e.g. the kitchen tap). Do Not Use The Hot Water Supply.
  2. Remove any aerator, strainer or other device that would restrict the flow to permit filling of the container without splashing.
  3. Adjust the water to provide a smooth flow and allow it to run to waste for 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. Immediately prior to drawing the water sample, restrict the flow to permit filling of the container without splashing.

Collecting the Sample

  1. Unscrew the cap carefully.
    • Do not lay the cap down but hold it in one hand while filling the container.
    • Do not touch the inside of the cap with your hand.
  2. Place the container under the water flow allowing the container to fill to the 100 ml line marked on the container.
  3. Replace the cap tightly.
  4. Shake or invert the container 10 - 15 times.
  5. Turn off the tap.

Some Dont's to insure proper collection:

Dont's touch the inside of the sample container
Dont's allow container to touch water tap
Dont's rinse out the container
Dont's wipe the container
Dont's breathe into the container
Dont's fill the container to overflowing

Fill out the lab request form completely  (PDF: 217kB) with all the necessary information, which is indicated by blue highlighting.

Samples may be submitted Monday through Friday from 8 AM until 4 PM.


  • The testing time is 24-48 hours.
  • Results will generally be available after 4:00 PM.
  • You may expect the emailed test results to reach you in 2-3 days.