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FAQ: Drinking Water Sampling and Testing

Drinking water fountain
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

FAQ: Drinking Water Sampling and Testing

The Drinking Water Analysis Laboratory offers services for the analysis of drinking water quality. These services include all physical, chemical, and microbiological testing procedures currently used for this purpose by state and local water supply programs.

For additional information, contact the EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory at 517-335-8184.

  • There are many different reasons to get your water tested at a laboratory. People get their drinking water tested when they notice an unusual color or odor, when they are selling or buying a home, and when a new well is installed or an old well or well pump is maintained.

    Homeowners should contact their Local Health Department for a recommendation of what to have their water tested for. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recommends that private wells be tested for coliform bacteria and nitrate/nitrite at a minimum.

  • You will receive a drinking water testing invoice when your testing is complete. You may mail your payment to the address on the invoice, or pay online securely by credit card or E-Check.

    Your invoice number is required for online payment.

    Beginning July 1, 2024, the laboratory is no longer accepting pre-payment including checks or money orders with your sample submission for drinking water testing.

  • No. You must use a sample container specifically required for the testing that will be done on your water sample. The laboratory’s sample containers have been quality control checked for specific analyses to ensure they meet test method requirements and are free of contaminants. A list of required bottles or units, along with test codes, can be found on EGLE's Drinking Water Laboratory Testing Fee Schedule.

    Learn more about the Drinking Water Laboratory or contact the laboratory at 517-335-8184 with additional questions about required bottles and test codes. 

  • Order sample containers and testing kits for collecting your water sample by calling the EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory at 517-335-8184. You may have your order shipped to you, or you may pick up your order at the laboratory by scheduling a pickup appointment when you place your order. Please allow 3-5 business days to process your order and additional time for shipping.

  • You should only order enough sample containers for samples you will be collecting and submitting to the EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory within 30 days of ordering. The laboratory carries a limited supply of sample containers at any given time and processes several orders a day.

  • No. If your sample was collected in an EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory provided sample container, it must be returned to the EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory for testing. Laboratories will generally only test samples that were collected in their sample containers as part of their Quality Management Program, good laboratory practices, or as a requirement of certification and accreditation.

  • The EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory has improved its testing methods for these test groups, requiring additional laboratory instrumentation and an additional bottle to perform the testing. The laboratory is changing to a 2-bottle test kit on April 1, 2024 for these test groups to improve quality control and testing efficiency. 

    In addition to this bottle change, the CPM2 test group will now use the Unit 36ME bottle, and the Unit 32 bottle will now be used in place of the larger Unit 33 sample bottle for other test groups.

  • Instructions for collecting your water sample are included with your sample bottle on the back of the Request for Water Analysis form. Follow the instructions carefully when collecting your water sample. Different bottles have different collection requirements based on testing methods and any preservatives that may be included in your bottle or kit. Samples that aren’t collected correctly and don’t meet testing requirements when received at the laboratory will not be accepted for testing, because test results may not be accurate. For additional questions contact the EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory at 517-335-8184. 

  • Some tests require thermal preservation upon sample collection, and your water sample may need to be refrigerated. If you received ice packs with your sample bottle, freeze them for 24 hours and use them when you return the sample to the EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory. Refrigerate your sample for 8 hours when possible if you will not be able to return it to the laboratory within 24 hours of collection. Do not freeze the sample. Samples received frozen will not be accepted for testing.

  • You may ship your water samples UPS Next Day Air, USPS Priority Mail Express, or FedEx Priority Overnight to the EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory, Monday through Thursday to be received by Friday. You must include a completed Request for Water Analysis form and check or money order made payable to the State of Michigan. If payment is not received with your sample, you will be invoiced when your sample has been tested.

    You may also bring your sample to the laboratory. Contact the laboratory at 517-335-8184 to schedule a sample drop off appointment. A government issued picture ID such as a driver’s license is required at the laboratory facility’s entrance gate.

  • A new addition was added to the State Laboratory facility in 2022. The new main entrance and security guard are in this new addition on the south end of the building. All samples are still delivered at the north end of the facility, and the security guard will direct you there upon arrival. When you enter the first set of doors, press the EGLE call button on the left wall to contact an EGLE representative who will open the door for you. A new EGLE sample drop off window will be just ahead on the right.

  • If your sample does not meet testing method requirements for collection, preservation, or submission, your test results may not be accurate. The EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory is the State of Michigan’s principal state laboratory for testing drinking water samples submitted for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. 

    The laboratory is certified by the U.S. EPA to test for contaminants under the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations and follows stringent test procedures published and promulgated by the U.S. EPA. Each testing procedure requires that samples collected for drinking water testing meet criteria such as thermal preservation and proper sample volume when submitted to the laboratory.

    If these criteria are not met when samples are submitted, samples may not be accepted for testing.

  • A separate form is required for each sample collection point, collection address, or different collection date and time.  If you are submitting multiple samples indicate a unique identifier on the sample bottle label so the laboratory is able to match the Request for Water Analysis form with the corresponding sample bottle (i.e. well number, address, sampling point, etc.). 

  • Yes. You must indicate the sample collector, collection date and time (circle am or pm) for your water sample on the Request for Water Analysis form. Testing methods have a U.S. EPA maximum allowable holding time from the time your water sample was collected until the time testing begins. Without the collection date and time, it is not possible to determine if your water sample can be tested within the holding time, and your sample will not be accepted for testing. 

  • If your sample is collected for compliance with the State of Michigan, you should check this box. This ensures that the laboratory will only accept your sample if it meets all testing requirements. If you do not check this box, the laboratory may test your sample and your payment will be processed, even if it did not meet acceptance criteria. Results from samples that do not meet testing requirements in this case should be used for informational value only. The exception to this is coliform bacteria testing. Samples that do not meet all testing requirements for coliform bacteria testing will not be accepted for testing.

  • On the Request for Water Analysis Form, select test code B. This test analyzes drinking water for Total Coliforms and E. coli.

  • Testing methods have a U.S. EPA maximum allowable holding time from the time your water sample was collected until the time testing begins. Results from samples analyzed past holding time may be less accurate. The holding time is indicated on the bottle label. Samples that do not meet the holding time when received at the laboratory will not be accepted for testing.

  • Surface water samples can be delivered to the Laboratory Monday through Thursday 8:00am - 3:00pm. The laboratory does not accept surface water samples on Friday. All surface water samples must be delivered to the laboratory within 6 hours of collection to allow the laboratory time to begin testing within the U.S. EPA maximum allowable holding time of 8 hours. If you are bringing in several surface water samples to the Laboratory, call 517-335-9581 to schedule these in advance.

  • No. Testing for Total Coliforms and E. coli Bacteria requires a 24-hour incubation time to complete the analysis. Test results are released Monday through Friday by the EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory to get this critical testing information out as quickly as possible. Submit your sample and contact information to the laboratory Monday through Thursday for faster results. With the information you provide, the laboratory will make every effort to contact you and your local health department as soon as possible if your sample tests positive for E. coli.

  • When you fill out your Request for Water Analysis form completely, your laboratory results will be mailed via U.S. Mail and additionally emailed if you provided an email address. You can expect testing to be completed on your water sample in approximately up to 10 business days after your sample is received at the laboratory for most testing, with additional time to mail your results.

  • For questions regarding your water quality, please contact your local health department. The EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory does not make interpretations about your water quality or water sample test results. If your sample was collected from a private well, the Be Well Informed tool can also provide information about your test results.

  • The EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory is located at 3350 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Lansing, MI 48906.

  • The EGLE Drinking Water Laboratory is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm, except holidays.

    Samples may be dropped off by appointment only at the laboratory Monday through Thursday, 8:00am to 4:30pm and Friday 8:00am to 3:30pm.