Analytical Methods for Drinking Water: Advances in Sampling and Analysis

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About half of the private water wells that have been tested in the state have at least one water quality problem. Yet, despite the importance of testing your water, only half of Pennsylvania wells have ever been tested.

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In general, you should test your water annually for coliform bacteria and every three years for pH and total dissolved solids. If you are concerned about potential pollutants or if you are experiencing aesthetic problems such as staining, taste, or odor, more extensive testing is warranted. Pollutants that enter wells can often be linked to activities on the land surface such as mining, agriculture, or industry.

If you have one of these activities within sight of your home, you may wish to select a drinking water test package based on pollutants most commonly found in association with each activity. Finally, if you are experiencing aesthetic problems, you may want to test for the components that are primarily responsible for these see Aesthetics Packages.

Individual drinking water analyses are also available. In addition to the Penn State laboratory, there are private laboratories in the state that perform water testing.


A list of these labs may be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Laboratory Accreditation Program web site. For more information about chain of custody water testing and a list of labs that provide this service, visit the Penn State Extension website. Kits are available at many county extension offices or may be obtained directly from the laboratory. The kit consists of a cooler, shipping box, sample bottles, instructions on how to take a sample, and a submission form.

After taking your water sample, you must send the kit to the laboratory by overnight mail along with your payment for the test s requested. For the bacteria test, included in all test packages, the laboratory must receive the sample within 30 hours after sampling. If you need the bacteria test only, contact the laboratory to receive a smaller cooler test kit. The lab cannot accept any water samples for bacteria on a Friday. In general, tests are complete within two weeks after sample receipt by the laboratory.

With mailing time, you should receive your report within two to three weeks after sending your sample. This video will walk you through how to use the Penn State drinking water test kit to successfully analyze the quality of your drinking water. Summary of the results of all drinking water samples tested since , sorted by county. Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory. Why should you test your drinking water? Sources: Some naturally occurring, but most from mining activities.

Sources: Naturally occurring, but most from mining activities. Coli Importance: May cause gastrointestinal illnesses and cause water to have bad taste or odor. Sources: Surface water, septic systems and animal wastes. Sources: Most from corrosion of copper plumbing; more rarely from industrial waste sites.

Sources: Most is naturally occurring; some due to mining activities. Sources: Naturally occurring; present in some industrial wastes. Sources: Naturally occurring in many areas, especially where limestone occurs. Sources: Naturally occurring or from mining activities. Sources: Primary source is metal plumbing; more rarely from industrial wastes. Sources: naturally occurring or from mining activities. Sources: Naturally occurring; various industrial wastes.

Sources: Fertilizers, animal wastes, septic systems. Sources: Naturally controlled, but may be impacted by mining activities. Chain of custody documentation shall be in compliance with ch. NR , and shall be submitted to the department with the sample results. One replicate sample for every 10 or less samples. One equipment blank for every 10 or less samples, unless dedicated sampling equipment is used to prevent cross-contamination.

Water testing - Wikipedia

One trip blank for each shipping container that contained volatile samples. One temperature blank for every shipping container of samples that require cooling for preservation, unless samples are shipped on ice.

If the results are less than the method detection limit, the results shall be reported as less than the method detection limit, rather than no detect. Qualifiers used for the data shall also be reported. In addition, s. The department may approve the use of an alternative procedure from one of the authoritative sources listed in ch.

Water sampling

EPA, or, if the department determines that an appropriate procedure is not available, from another source. Alternative procedures may include the most recent published method, or an older published version deemed acceptable by the department on the basis of the objectives of the data collection. Responsible parties shall select an analytical method that is suitable for the matrix, type of analyte, expected level of analyte, regulatory limit, and potential interferences in the sample to be tested.

NR to shall be preserved immediately after collection to minimize volatilization of contaminants from the sample to the greatest extent possible. Preservation techniques used shall be according to the analytical method to be used. Sampling techniques shall be used that minimize volatilization from the sample.

Extraction techniques shall be according to the analytical method selected. Other techniques may be found in the List of Authoritative Sources, ch.

EPA, unless the department approves the use of an alternative procedure. These may include dissolved oxygen, nitrate, dissolved manganese, total and ferrous iron, sulfate and methane, alkalinity, oxidation reduction potential, pH, temperature, and conductivity.

Lead in Drinking Water

In cases where flush-mounted wells are not used, wells installed in areas potentially subject to damage from vehicle traffic shall include appropriate protective traffic posts next to the well. Normally, properly anchored concrete filled metal posts should be used to protect wells. The magnet may aid in locating wells for abandonment.

The measurement point shall be the top of the well casing and shall be identified on the well itself if the top of the casing is not level. Private and public water supply wells to be sampled shall include:. Register October No.

U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

Responsible parties shall report all water supply well sampling results to the department and to the well owner, and occupant as applicable, within 10 business days after receiving the sampling results. The report to the department shall include the Wisconsin unique well number for drinking water wells, a preliminary analysis of the cause and significance of any contaminant concentrations observed in the samples and an identification of any substances that attain or exceed ch. NR preventive action limits, as well as any other substances observed in the samples for which there are no ch.

NR groundwater quality standards. The responsible party shall notify both the remediation and redevelopment project manager and the regional drinking and groundwater specialist or water supply engineer of all water supply well sample results. Responsible parties shall report all sampling results other than those for water supply wells, to the department and to the property owner, and occupants as appropriate, of the property from which the samples were collected, including the source property owner if the person conducting the investigation is not the property owner, within 10 business days of receiving the sample results.

The department may waive the notification of occupants in limited situations, upon request. Responsible party name, address, and phone number.