Environmental Health
Drinking Water & Wells
 
  How to Collect a Water Sample  
 
  Bottle Pickup & Dropoff Locations/Times  l  Fill Out Lab Form  l

Keep Sample Bottle Sterile  l  Do Not Heat Sample  l  Collecting the Sample  l

  Reporting Results  l  Collecting Other Samples  Nitrate Testing
 
     
 

“Coliform Bacteria” is a general term used to describe a group of bacteria whose presence indicates contamination of a water system. Certain types of coliform, such as E. coli, are capable of causing illness in humans. Thurston County recommends that private well owners test their water at least once a year for coliform bacteria (for additional info, see Coliform Bacteria Information [PDF]).

NOTE: Thurston County also provides nitrate testing, which is recommended once every three years. If you want your water tested for minerals or other chemicals, a list of state-certified laboratories is available from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Bottle Pickup & Dropoff Locations/Times

COUNTY COURTHOUSE BLDG 1, 2nd floor        

  • 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia ▪ 360-867-2631
  • PICK-UP: Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm*
  • DROP-OFF:
    • Bacteria Samples: Monday – Wednesday, 8 am – 5 pm* and Thursday, 8 am - 12:30 pm*
    • Nitrate Samples: Monday and Tuesday Only, 8 am - 5 pm*

    *The Permit Assistance Center (PAC), 2nd floor, Bldg 1, is closed at 12:30 PM each workday. To accommodate sampling needs, bottles can be picked up at the Main Reception Desk (on the 1st floor) between noon and 5 pm each day.


    SAMPLES MUST BE COLLECTED AND DELIVERED TO OUR OFFICES FOR TESTING
    ON THE ABOVE LISTED DAYS AND TIMES


    NOTE: When you pick up a sampling bottle before noon at the Courthouse Complex, $27 will be collected in advance. Payment can be in cash, check, or credit card — VISA or MasterCard.) There is no prepayment on bottles picked up after 12 pm, however when returning a sample, please enclose a check for $27, made out to Thurston County, and attach to the water sample.

    PUBLIC HEALTH BLDG

    • 412 Lilly Road N, Olympia ▪ 360-867-2500
    • PICK-UP: Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm
    • DROP-OFF:
      • Bacteria Samples: Monday through Wednesday, 8 am – 1 pm
      • Nitrate Samples: Monday and Tuesday only, 8 am - 1 pm

    (When you return the sample, please enclose a check for $27, made out to Thurston County, and attach to the water sample.)


    OTHER THURSTON COUNTY LOCATIONS – TUESDAY ONLY DROPOFF

    Fill your water sample bottle Tuesday morning and drop off no later than noon on Tuesday at the following locations:

    Rainier Town Hall

    • 102 Rochester St. W, Rainer ▪ 360-446-2636
    • PICK-UP: Monday – Thursday, 8 am – 5 pm
    • DROP-OFF: Tuesdays only, 8 am – noon

    Rochester (ROOF Community Center)

    • 10140 Highway 12, Rochester ▪ 360-273-6375
    • PICK-UP: Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
    • DROP-OFF: Tuesdays only, 9:30 am – noon

    Tenino City Hall

    • 149 S. Hodgen, Tenino ▪ 360-264-2368
    •  PICK-UP: Tuesday - Friday, 8 am - 4 pm
    •  DROP-OFF: Tuesdays only, 8 am - noon

    Yelm City Hall

    • 105 Yelm Ave W, Yelm ▪ 360-458-8402
    • PICK-UP: Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm
    • DROP-OFF: Tuesdays only, 8 am - noon

    NOTE: The above sites do not collect fees, when returning the sample, please enclose a check, made out to Thurston County, and attach to water sample. The fee for testing coliform bacteria or nitrates is $27.

    PDF Version of Information


    MASON COUNTY

    • 415 N 6th Street (downtown Shelton)
    • PICK-UP: Monday - Friday, 8 am - 4:30 pm
    • DROP-OFF: Monday and Tuesdays only, 8 am - 4:30 pm

    NOTE: When returning a sample, please enclose a check for $27, made out to Thurston County, and attach to water sample. The fee for testing coliform bacteria or nitrates is $27 each.

    For additional information, see Water Sample Collection Instructions for Mason County Residents [PDF]

    DELIVER YOUR SAMPLE FOR TESTING
    ON THE SAME DAY THAT YOU COLLECT IT.

    Fill Out Lab Form

    Fill out the lab form completely down to the "DRINKING WATER RESULTS" section, pressing firmly with a black pen. Be sure the form is filled out COMPLETELY including the CORRECT DATE AND TIME OF COLLECTION, MAILING ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER.

    • For a private well sample, under "Type of sample," check other and write single family well.
    • For a well that serves two homes, under "Type of Water System," check "Other" and write "two-party;" under "Type of Sample," (box #1 lower portion of form) "Routine Distribution Sample."
    • For a community system (connection of three or more homes), under "Group A and Group B Systems," provide the system ID# and name of the community water system (if you don't know the number, please call the water lab; under "Type of Sample," check #1 "Routine Distribution Sample."

    Keep Sample Bottle Sterile

    Your sample bottle has been sterilized. For accurate testing, it is important to keep it free from contamination. If you accidentally contaminate it, please return it for another sterile bottle. Do not boil the bottle or put anything inside it except your sample.

    • You may see moisture or white powder in the bottle — it is supposed to be there.
    • Do not put tape, or in any way mark or write, on the bottle.

    Do Not Heat Your Sample

    Keep your water sample out of the sunlight and heat, especially when transporting it in your car. If it will take more than an hour to deliver your sample for testing, we recommend transporting it in a cooler with ice. A warm sample can change your sample results.

    Sample Collection

    1. Select a faucet (preferably a non-swivel type) in the bathroom or kitchen.
    2. Remove any filters or screens from the faucet tap.
    3. Turn on the cold water and let it run for at least five minutes. Turn off the water.
    4. Disinfect the tap by flaming around the orifice with a butane lighter or matches. Hold the flame back from the tap so that the flame won't discolor it. If you do not have a lighter or your tap is made from plastic or rubber, you may slowly pour boiling water over the tap to thoroughly heat it. This heating kills bacteria on the faucet that might accidentally contaminate your sample.
    5. Sample bottle with "Fill to Here" lineTurn the cold water back on for a few seconds to cool the tap. Adjust the water to produce an even flow. Remove the cap from the sample bottle.
      DO NOT SET THE CAP DOWN OR TOUCH THE INSIDE OF THE CAP OR BOTTLE. FILL THE SAMPLE BOTTLE TO THE SHOULDER ONLY. We cannot test the sample if the bottle is too full. DO NOT let the faucet touch the bottle.
    6. Re-cap the bottle and deliver to the lab as soon as possible.

    Reporting of Results

    You should receive test results by mail within a few days of when you submit your sample. If your sample shows contamination, we will call you with the results immediately and mail well disinfecting instructions with your report.

    Nitrate Testing

    This test is for Coliform bacteria only (including E. Coli and/or Fecal Coliform). Thurston County also provides nitrate testing, which is recommended once every three years. If you want your water tested for minerals or other chemicals, see State-Certified Laboratories (Washington State Department of Health).

 
 
Hot Topics
  • Lab Fees
    Coliform - $27
    Nitrate - $27
Popular Pages & Links
Contacts
  • Water Quality Lab
    360-867-2631
    Email
This page last updated: 01/07/14