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Collection and Submission of Water Samples

How well samples "represent" the sample source depends entirely on techniques used to collect the sample. This may include where, when, and how samples are collected, as well as how samples are handled before testing and the length of time from sample collection to testing. For regulated sample sources, especially public water supplies, some of these aspects may regulated. Contact the regulating agency for related information. Such factors may be important in interpreting the meaning of the testing results and meeting regulatory testing requirements.


Different types of sample units contain sample collection instructions specific to the type unit. The following general sample collection rules apply to all situations:

 

a. Intermediate plumbing or connections to the source may contribute other contamination. Samples should be

collected as close to the source being tested as possible, and all connections to the source must be flushed as completely as possible.

 

b. Do not touch the inside of the sample container or leave the container open for extended periods of time. Collect samples at low flow, and do not allow samples to run over outside of tap, outside of bottle, hands, etc. during sample collection.

 

c. Leave an air space (about one-half inch) at the top of the container to allow mixing. The only exception is for volatile organics testing (e.g. Unit Number 36VO). These must be collected with no air space in the container or volatile substances may be lost.

 

d. If preservatives are used, be sure these are not flushed from the container on sample collection. Preservatives are used to prevent changes in original sample condition between the time of collection and testing. Mix sample with preservative after collection by inverting capped sample container.

 

e. If investigating a specific problem, always consider how the sample location may be related to suspect sources of potential problems.

 

f. Deliver samples to the laboratory as soon as possible. Some types of testing are prone to error as sample holding times increase. Refrigeration of samples is advisable unless otherwise instructed.

 

g. The laboratory is not able to fully evaluate all sample collection related information. Any sample received will usually be tested regardless of potential problems with sample collection or shipment.

 

NOTE: THE SAMPLE SUBMITTER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PROPER COLLECTION AND DELIVERY OF SPECIMENS TO THE LABORATORY LOCATION.

 

Sample identification

 

Laboratories process hundreds of samples every day. Sample identification submitted with each sample container is very important. Samples submitted in batches are frequently separated in the laboratory and handled independently of one another. This requires a submission form for each sample container.

 

NOTE: EACH SAMPLE CONTAINER SUBMITTED TO THE LABORATORY MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A SEPARATE SAMPLE SUBMISSION SLIP (FORM EQP2300) IDENTIFYING THE SAMPLE CONTAINER. THE SLIP MUST BE ATTACHED TO THE CONTAINER OR ENCLOSED WITHIN A SINGLE CONTAINER UNIT.

 

All applicable information should be entered on each container's submission form to assure proper identification and sample processing. All sample units use a common submission slip, "REQUEST FOR WATER ANALYSIS" (form EQP2300). The individual items to be entered are described on the back of the sample collection instructions, "SUBMISSION FORM INFORMATION ITEMS". Common information for a number of different samples may be duplicated by copying partially completed forms (please cut to original size). In general entered information must include:

 

a. Proper codes at top of form. Code numbers are from the back of the submission form.

 

b. Complete address for reporting results (and fee invoices as needed).

 

c. Date collected and description of where the sample was collected.

 

d. Proper entry of requested testing (by "Test Code(s)" from Water Testing Fee Schedule).

 

e. Amount enclosed to cover testing fees given in the current testing fee schedule A partial list of commonly requested tests and fees is given on the back of the sample submission form. All other available testing is covered in the "Water Testing Fee Schedule".

 

f. Other items serve for informational purposes of the sample collector or the local water supply programs.

 

Fee Payment

 

The laboratory requests that testing fees for a single sampling event be enclosed with the sample. This greatly reduces operational costs and helps us keep fees, which support this work, as low as possible. Multiple sample units may be taped together or packed in a single box with a single check enclosed to cover all costs. Invoices for any unpaid fees will be the responsibility of the person receiving the test results.

 

NOTE: MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO THE STATE OF MICHIGAN - DO NOT SEND CASH.

 

Fees for testing service have been introduced in response to reductions in available tax support at the same time that federally mandated water supply testing was rapidly expanding. All fees collected for this service is directly used for supporting the development and provision of testing services.

 

The fees given in listings for test services apply to the following types of testing service requests:

  1. All public water supply monitoring required by the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, and any additional monitoring initiated by the supply operator.
  2. Testing service requested as part of requirements for licensing or inspection programs.
  3. Requests for evaluating residential supplies including routine checks on water quality, new well installation, and real estate transactions.
  4. Monitoring of bacteriological quality such as for swimming pool operation, bathing beach inspection, and sewage lagoon discharge.

If fees are not submitted with samples, they will be billed by invoice. If testing can't be completed for any reason, a resample will be requested without additional charge. Please submit any requested payment following procedures given on the invoice.

 

THE REPORTING ADDRESS USED TO RETURN SAMPLE RESULTS WILL BE CONSIDERED RESPONSIBLE FOR RELATED TESTING FEES.

 

State supported testing is available, within funding limitations, for investigation of apparent health hazards by county health departments and state agencies. This does not include routine monitoring requirements or testing intiated by private citizens. It does normally include all testing related to investigation of initial test results which raise concerns about the safety of the tested water supply. Contact the Drinking Water Laboratory, county health department personnel, or the MDEQ Remediation Division, Laboratory Services Section to discuss exemptions.