How to Test Your Water for Bacteria

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When testing your water for bacteria, it important to sanitize the faucet. This will ensure the water sample represents the quality of the water in the well and not the amount of bacteria on the faucet tip. Be sure the collected sample will reach the lab within 30 hours, or else it will be rejected. If the sample is being delivered by mail and it will likely arrive at the lab on a Saturday or a holiday, be sure to confirm that the lab will be able to process the sample when it arrives.

 

NOTE: IF THE WELL HAS BEEN CHLORINATED, CONFIRM ALL OF THE CHLORINE IS GONE WITH A CHLORINE TEST KIT BEFORE COLLECTING THE SAMPLE.[1]

 

aerator
  • Remove Aerator (see figure to the right)
  • Place 1 teaspoon of household bleach (unscented) in the bottom of a glass
  • Place the aerator in the glass
  • Hold the glass over the tip of the faucet
  • Fill the glass until it just begins to over flow (see figure below)
  • Shut off the water and hold the filled glass over the tip of the faucet for 3-5 minutes
  • Remove the glass and let the water run for another 3-5 minutes
  • Collect the sample
  • Replace the aerator
fill

 

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[1] Chlorine concentrations as low as .4 ppm can deactivate bacteria within 10 minutes of contact. To prevent a false negative test, all of the chlorine must be gone.

 

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