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Renseignements en Français

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How to Collect and Submit a Water Sample

For special requests, call toll-free 1-866-450-0000.  Information on required action if water is not suitable for drinking can be obtained from the public health inspector in your area.

Sample Collection and Submission

Collect your samples in containers provided by the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory Request for Supplies Form (available below in Related Documents) and submit to the lab by following established procedures.  Samples submitted not following the procedures may compromise testing results, and we reserve the right to reject the sample for testing.

Sample Storage 

We store all samples in the lab during the testing processes.  Samples will be disposed after the test is completed unless you make an alternative arrangement with us beforehand.

Sample Contamination

When a sample leaks, it is regarded as contaminated.  We reserve the right to reject the sample for testing.

  • Sample containers and requisition forms are available at your RM offices and the Saskatchewan Health Authority.  
  • Extra containers can be obtained directly from the lab or ordered by sending a fax to (306) 798-0071.
  • Requisition forms can be downloaded below in Related Documents.  
  • Information on interpretation of results and required action is also available by phoning the public health inspector in your area.

      Liability

      We take great care when handling and testing your water samples.  If, after receipt at the lab, your sample is damaged or contaminated, we will retest your sample at no cost.

      Drinking Water Sample Collection Instructions for Bacteria Analysis
      1. Use the sterile bottle supplied by the lab for bacteriological analyses.  If the sterile seal is broken, do not use.
      2. Wash your hands carefully with soap and water before collecting the sample.
      3. Collect the sample from the drinking water outlet (not a hydrant, hose or faucet located outside of building).
      4. Remove the aeration screen from tap.
      5. Disinfect the end of the faucet with a bleach solution (mix 1 part bleach to 4 parts water).
      6. Allow the water to run for two minutes before adjusting the flow to a stream about the width of a pencil.
      7. Take the cap off the bottle and hold the cap in one hand and the bottle in the other.  Never rinse the bottle.  The bottle contains a tablet to neutralize any chlorine.
      8. Carefully fill the bottle within 6-7 mm (1/4 inch) of the top.
      9. Replace the cap to the bottle without touching the inside of the cap or the mouth of the bottle.
      10. Fill in all areas of the requisition.
      Drinking Water Sample Shipping Instructions for Bacteria Analysis
      1. Clearly print your name and sample location on the sample bottle.
      2. Place the sample bottle with the correct requisition form in the mailing container provided by the lab. Secure the lid with tape.
      3. Place the mailing container in an approved customer-supplied insulated cooler.  The cooler should contain absorbent material in the event a sample bottle leaks or is broken in transit.
      4. Place enough approved ice packs in the cooler so the sample will stay cool but will not freeze during transportation to the lab.
      5. Coolers and ice packs are returned to the submitter as soon as possible and the laboratory is responsible for the cost of returning the coolers to the submitter. Please use a "flip-top" style of label with the laboratory's address on one side and the submitter's address on the other side.  The cooler will not be returned if the address is missing.  Ship or deliver the samples to:

        Environmental Services
        Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory
        5 Research Drive
        Regina SK  S4S 0A4

      6. The sample must be processed within 48 hours of collection.

      To request sample bottles, fax 306-798-0071.

      Since bacteria are living organisms, it is critical that we receive your water sample with these organisms alive. To obtain an accurate result, samples for total coliform and E.coli testing need to be processed within 48 hours of sample collection and the samples should be kept cool (but not frozen) during transportation.  Therefore, we ask you to submit your water to us in a cooler with ice packs immediately after collection.

      We understand that it is not always easy (in some cases impossible) to recollect samples.  Therefore, we ask that you follow the sample collection and shipping instructions to ensure mistakes do not occur during the process.  If you have any questions, please contact the Water Lab at 1-866-450-0000.

      Sample Collection and Submission for Chemical Analysis

      Containers 

      Containers for water testing at the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory are distributed throughout the province at RM offices, public health offices, and can also be obtained directly from the laboratory (please fax your request to 306-798-0071).  The 250 mL bacteriological bottles are sterilized and should only be used for bacteriological testing.  Water samples for all chemical analysis should be submitted in appropriate clean plastic containers:

      Bacteriological parameters  250 Millilitre sterile plastic container 
      General chemical/Major Ions/Livestock 
      1.0 Litre plastic container 
      Health and Toxicity/Individual/Metal Parameters 
      1.0 Litre plastic container
      Irrigation 
      1.0 Litre plastic container
      Mercury 
      Contact lab for proper container
      THM 
      20 Millilitre lab supplied container
      Wastewater/Monitor Well/Pollution 2.5 Litre plastic container

      Sample Collection

      Test results are dependent on the sample submitted.  Therefore, it is extremely important to collect a representative water sample.  A sample collected at a particular time and place may only represent the composition of the source at that time and place.  When a water source is known to vary with time, samples collected at time intervals and analyzed separately can document the extent, frequency and duration of these variations.  When the water source composition varies in space, collect samples from appropriate locations.  You can also submit a composite sample for water testing.  A composite sample is a combination of samples collected either at different times or from different locations, or both.  When collecting a water chemistry sample, completely fill the sample container.  Avoid use of metal-lined caps. 

      Please print your name and sample location on sample bottle.

      Sample-Holding Times

      Sample-holding time is the time period from sample collection to sample analysis, during which the testing results will not change.  Testing results of some parameters are more time sensitive than others.  Samples should always be tested within the sample holding time.  For best testing results, it is recommended that the sample be submitted to the lab in a cooler immediately after collection.

      e.g Sample Holding Time  
      Parameter
      8 hours 
      Heterotrophic Plate Count
      48 hours BOD*, nitrate, ortho-phosphorus, turbidity, total coliform, E. coli
      7 days
      COD, DOC, suspended solids, ammonia 

      *Note: BOD samples must be collected and received during weekdays Monday to Friday. 

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