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The Correct Procedures in Preparing Water Sample for Testing

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Testing for Volatile Organic Chemicals

When collecting a sample to be tested for volatile organic chemicals these additional steps should be followed:

  1. Reduce water flow to prevent excess air in the sample.
  2. Remove all air from the collection bottle by filling it to almost overflowing. Again, timeliness and cleanliness are extremely important to prevent false results.
  3. Testing for Pesticides

Samples for pesticide testing must be taken so they will not deteriorate or become contaminated before reaching the lab. Contact the lab testing the sample for complete instructions and a collection kit. Specific steps needed when testing for pesticides include:

  1. Collect the sample only in the amber colored bottle provided. The dark glass prevents light from degrading the sample.
  2. Cap the bottle with the Teflon coated lid. The special lid prevents false positive results caused by certain plastics.
  3. Keep the sample refrigerated, preferably 35 degrees to 38 degrees, and submit it to the lab within 48 hours. If shipping the sample, pack the sample in ice and ship in a Styrofoam or other insulated container.

Is a "complete" water analysis necessary in every case? Definitely not! In many cases a "complete" analysis would be unwarranted. Where an unusual situation exists, it is perhaps wise to make a "complete" analysis of the water. Such tests when completed would give information on such chemical contaminants as those listed in the EPA Interim Primary Drinking Water Regulations, and others such as alkalinity, sodium, sulfates, chlorides, tastes, odors, turbidity and color in addition to hardness, iron, pH, etc.

After a water analysis has been made, there is still need for corrective action.

Sound treatment is a matter of judgement based on know-how, experience and the particular requirements of the individual owner in each case. Often a water analysis will reveal conditions which might be treated in one of several possible ways. In many cases there may not be any one best possible answer. Several solutions may be satisfactory depending on the factors involved.

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