Types of Water Sampling Offered
The Alamance County Environmental Health Section collects many different types of water samples. Our trained Environmental Health Specialists come to your property to collect the sample(s), and the sample(s) is then shipped to the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health for analysis. Please keep in mind that we can only collect water samples from drinking water wells with a properly functioning well pump. The following is a brief description of the different types of water sampling we offer:
- Bacteriological - Samples are examined for the presence of the coliform group of bacteria, which are indicators of fecal contamination. Water is not examined for pathogenic bacteria, as the prospect of isolating them from water is very remote. Open wells, unprotected springs, or any water source with visible evidence of contamination are unsafe for drinking purposes, regardless of laboratory findings.
- Inorganic Chemicals - These samples are routinely analyzed for alkalinity, arsenic, calcium, chloride, copper, hardness, lead, iron, magnesium, manganese, pH, fluoride, and zinc.
- Nitrates/Nitrites - These samples also fall under the category of inorganic chemicals, but we can also sample for these separately. Nitrates/nitrites can be found in areas near hog farms, chicken houses, or heavy fertilization.
- Petroleum - Petroleum products fall into two categories: 1) solvents and gasoline; and 2) heavy oils and greases.
- Pesticides - Pesticide sampling may be important in areas where someone is applying products to kill pests, such as rodents, mites, mosquitoes, etc.
- Sulfur/sulfate-reducing bacteria - Generally only important when you smell a "rotten egg" odor.
To learn more about contaminants commonly found in drinking water, please click here.
To apply for a water sample through our Department, please click here.