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Can you test my water for "everything"?
We offer a very comprehensive package for homeowners through a partner laboratory. It includes Heavy Metals, Inorganic Chemicals, Physical factors, Volatile Organic Chemicals, Pesticides, Herbicides, and PCBs. Please note that this homeowners package is to be used as an informational screening package and may not be used for regulatory compliance. For a complete list of what is included, please click the link.
What should I test my well water for?
In the brochure "Test Your Well Protect Your Family’s Water", The New York State Department of Health recommends that you test your well each year for E. coli & coliform bacteria. In addition they recommend that you test your well every 3 - 5 years for Lead, Nitrate, Nitrite, Arsenic, Sodium, Iron, Manganese, Turbidity, pH, Hardness, Alkalinity.
I'm buying/selling a house and was told I need to test my water. What should I test for?
In most cases, you will need a test for E.coli & coliform bacteria. If you are applying for an FHA or VA loan the lender may require additional tests and it is best to contact the lender directly to see what will be required. In addition, the Towns of Fishkill, East Fishkill, and Wappinger Falls, all have mandates that require additional testing.
What are coliform bacteria?
Coliforms are bacteria that are always present in the digestive tracts of animals, including humans, and are found in their wastes. They are also found in plant and soil material.
How do I go about testing for bacteria?
Obtain a sterile 100mL bottle from Environmental Labworks.
Select a faucet.
Remove any filters or screens from the faucet tap.
Disinfect the tap by flaming around the orifice with a butane lighter or matches. Hold the flame back from the tap so that the flame won't discolor it. If you do not have a lighter or your tap is made from plastic or rubber, you may slowly pour boiling water over the tap to thoroughly heat it. This heating kills bacteria on the faucet that might accidentally contaminate your sample. You may also swab faucet with rubbing alcohol.
Turn on the cold water and let it run for at least five minutes.
Remove the cap from the sample bottle. Fill the sample bottle to the 100mL line.
Do not set the cap down or touch the inside of the cap or bottle. Do not let the faucet touch the bottle.
Re-cap the bottle and deliver to the lab on ice within 24 hours of sample collection. If you do not bring the sample immediately, please store in refrigerator until you are ready to transport sample.
I have a failing Coliform result. What does it mean?
If coliform bacteria are present in your drinking water, your risk of contracting a water-borne illness is increased. Although total coliforms can come from sources other than fecal matter, a positive total coliform sample should be considered an indication of pollution in your well. Positive fecal coliform results, especially positive E. Coli results, should be considered indication of fecal pollution in your well. What should be done if coliform bacteria are detected in a well? When coliforms have been detected, repairs or modifications of the water system may be required. Boiling the water is advised until disinfection and retesting can confirm that contamination has been eliminated. A defective well is often the cause when coliform bacteria are found in well water
Can you give me the number of coliform in my drinking water?
The presence of pathogens is determined with indirect evidence by testing for an “indicator” organism such as coliform bacteria. Coliforms come from the same sources as pathogenic organisms. Coliforms are relatively easy to identify, are usually present in larger numbers than more dangerous pathogens, and respond to the environment, wastewater treatment, and water treatment similarly to many pathogens. As a result, testing for coliform bacteria can be a reasonable indication of whether other pathogenic bacteria are present. Therefore, coliform in drinking water is only certified by the New York State Department of Health as a "Presence/Absence" analysis. No further useful information as related to health is gained by having a number.
When can I expect my results?
Depends on the test you are having performed. In most cases you can expect coliform results to be emailed to you by the end of the next business day. Typical turn around times are more in the 2 to 3 week range for most other tests. In any case, you can expect to have your results shortly after your final report is typed up. Because of that, we respectfully ask that you please do not call inquiring about your results. You will have them as soon as they are available.
Can you mail me the bottles? or Can I mail you the samples?
Not at this time. Many of the preservatives that are required are classified as HAZMATs so we will not ship containers out. Due to the temperatures required to correctly preserve most samples and in order to meet holding time limits in most cases the samples must be hand delivered to our laboratory.
Can you test this spring water to see if it is safe to drink?
Short answer, NO!
From the NY New York State Department of Health:
We use our drinking water in many different ways. We use it as a beverage, but also make ice cubes, mix baby formula, wash fruits and vegetables, and brush our teeth. If the water is contaminated, this may put you at risk. Depending on the kind of contamination, it may also be a concern to wash dishes, wash hands, shower or bathe.