Private Water Testing

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Drinking and Recreational Water

Water samples must be submitted using the appropriate collection kit provided by the local health department.

Bacteriological Analysis The MSPHL can test for three different types of bacteria in private water samples. Routine samples are tested for coliform and E. coli bacteria. Testing for iron bacteria is available by special request. These methods are found in the latest edition of the American Public Health Association's Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, and comply with the U.S. environmental Protection Agency and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services standards for drinking water.

Coliform bacteria occur naturally in soil, on vegetation, and in surface waters such as lakes or streams. They also can be found in the intestines of humans and other animals. Majority of the coliform bacteria are not harmful and are used as an "indicator bacteria" in drinking water. If present, contamination of the water has occurred, and other disease causing bacteria may also have gotten into the water supply.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a member of the coliform group of bacteria and is found only in humans and warm-blooded animals. E. coli in the drinking water indicates that it has been recently contaminated with human or animal wastes.

Iron bacteria occur naturally in the soil and derive its energy by oxidizing iron, manganese or aluminum. This oxidizing process creates a reddish-brown slime which over time can build up, clogging screens, well pumps, faucets, pipes, tanks etc. Iron bacteria are not harmful, but it does produce an unpleasant taste and odor.

When testing for these bacteria, the MSPHL tests for presence/absence only, not a specific count.

Other tests for specific waterborne pathogens (bacteria) may be available by special request.

Samples must be received at the laboratory and testing initiated within 48 hours of sample collection (30 hours for public water supplies). The MSPHL statewide courier system may be used to transport samples to the Jefferson City laboratory overnight. There is no charge for this service.

If You're Interested in getting your water tested please contact the Mississippi County Health Department by email or phone at (573)683-2191 or (573)649-5502 and ask for Environmental.

Allowance for results typically is 2 weeks.