Taking a good drinking water sample is a critical part to getting meaningful test results. It's not difficult at all, but you do need to be conscious of a few factors. Some things to consider are:

RIGHT WATER - Which part of the water system you are testing will determine where you take your sample from, e.g. straight from the well vs. at the kitchen sink.

If you are testing the quality of the water coming out of the well, take the sample as close as possible to the well itself, say, at the spigot that comes off your well pressure tank. This way, any contaminants introduced by the plumbing in your house will not be in evidence.

If you are testing to see if the pipes in your house are leaching lead or copper into the water, take the sample at the sink.

If you are testing to see if your water filtration system is working, take samples at both "upstream" (at the well pressure tank, for instance) and "downstream" of the equipment (i.e. the kitchen sink).

RIGHT CONTAINERS - Some tests require special containers to get valid results. For instance, for bacteria, you must use a sterile bottle we provide to you.  In most cases we will provide you with all the bottles you need in advance.

RIGHT TIMING - Some tests require the water to be returned to the lab within 24 hours of taking the sample. Plan your sampling to work with the lab's open hours, and let us know you are coming so we run sample batches more efficiently.

Our test kits come with complete sampling instructions, but feel free to call us at any time for help.

Here is a Maine Centers for Disease Control video showing how to take a basic home drinking water sample:


"First Draw" Lead and copper in your pipes:

Coliform and E. coli bacteria:

EPA Guide to Drinking Water Sampling (20 pg. .pdf):