Sampling Instructions

Sampling instructions for specific analyses are listed at the bottom of this page.  

Click these links for video instructions on sampling or shipping samples.

Clearly label each sample container. Use a permanent marker to indicate the sampling location and the date and time collected.
Use the proper container to collect your sample. Specific sample containers are required for most analyses.  Samples may be rejected if collected in improper containers.  If you are unsure which sample container is required for your project, please contact our lab before sampling.
Do not rinse sample containers. Preservatives necessary to maintain sample integrity may be present.
Refrigerate samples until they reach the lab. Most methods require that samples be held at less than 6°C from collection until analysis.
Submit the sample to the lab within the holding time required for the requested type of analysis. Samples may be rejected if not received within the holding time.  Holding times may vary depending on which type of analysis is being requested.  Please submit your sample as soon as possible after collection.  Please contact us if you have any questions about the holding time of your sample.
Before submitting your sample to the lab, complete the form provided. Indicate which analyses are to be performed for each sample.
Call ahead if you need rush processing. Rush fees may apply.  Standard turnaround time for most samples is 10 business days.
Contact us with any questions before sampling. Samples may be rejected if improperly collected or not submitted within the holding time.

Sample Acceptance
Our office accepts most samples Monday through Friday from 8 am –5 pm.  Please call ahead for bacteriological and wastewater sample acceptance schedules.

For a list of laboratory closure dates, please click here.

Rush Samples
Please call for details and pricing before shipping rush samples.

Specific sampling instructions are provided below:

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC) in Water
Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOC) in Water
Inorganic Chemicals (IOC) in Water (including Lead/Copper and Nitrate)
Coliform Bacteria in Drinking Water
Soil, Sludge and High-Level Wastes

UCMR3 Sampling Instructions

CAUTION
Some sample bottles contain chemical preservatives. These substances may cause injury if spilled in the eyes or on the skin or ingested. In case of a spill, rinse the affected area with large amounts of water and see a doctor immediately. Use of gloves is strongly recommended.

SPECIFIC SAMPLING INSTRUCTIONS

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC) in Water 

Vials: 40 mL amber glass VOA

Fill the vial under a slow stream of water until it overflows.  The water should be domed at the top.  Gently replace the cap and tighten securely.
There must be no air bubbles in the vial.  Samples may be rejected if air bubbles are entrapped in the vial.

Return the sealed Trip Blank vial with your samples.  Do NOT open it.

Fill the bottle so that the water ‘domes’ over the opening

Properly filled vials will NOT have an air bubble


Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOC) in Water

Vials: 40 mL clear or amber glass

Fill the vial under a slow stream of water until it overflows.  The water should be domed at the top.  Gently replace the cap and tighten securely.  There must be no air bubbles in the vial.  Samples may be rejected if air bubbles are entrapped in the vial.

Bottles: 250 mL, 500 mL, or 1L amber glass

Fill the bottle to the neck.  Cap tightly.


Inorganic Chemicals (IOC) in Water

Bottles: 125 mL, 250 mL, 500 mL or 1L HDPE plastic

Collect the sample from a kitchen or bathroom cold water faucet.  Remove all screens, strainers or aerators before taking the sample.  Using the cold water tap only, fill the sample bottle completely to the neck.  Cap tightly.

Lead/Copper:  Allow the water to stand undisturbed in the pipes for at least 6 hours before collecting the sample.  Click here to read EPA guidance on lead/copper collection.

Nitrate:  Samples must be submitted to the lab within 36 hours of collection.


Coliform Bacteria in Drinking Water

Microbiology/Coliform Bacteria Sampling Instructions


Soil, Sludge and High-Level Wastes

Containers:  Soil and sludge samples are typically collected in two 4-oz. glass jars with Teflon-lined caps.  Some solid samples may require specialized containers.

Fill the jars completely to eliminate head space.  Cap tightly.  Immediately place sample containers in a refrigerator or cooler with ice until delivered to the lab.