How to Sample Water

How to Sample

Water Sampling Made Easy.

Materials Needed

  • 3 Water bottles (12-16 oz.)
  • Cooler and ice pack to transport the sample
  • A light solution of bleach or alcohol

Procedures for Sampling Water

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Label sample container with sample name, water source, date, and time of collection.
  3. Go to the sampling location, preferably nearest the water source as possible.
  4. Turn the faucet on. Let the water run for at least a minute.
  5. Open the sample container. Do not place fingers on the container lip or inside the container.
  6. Place sample container into running water and collect the water.
  7. Place in cooler with an ice pack.
  8. Deliver to the laboratory within 24 hours of collection.


  • Use a clean, unused water bottle. Suggest a 12-16 oz. disposable drinking water bottle.

  • Wash your hands with soap.

  • Find a clean water source free of dirt, bugs and food particles.

  • Sterilize the water faucet with a light concentration of bleach or alcohol.


Contamination of the sample is a major concern.

  • No used bottles. Don’t drink from the bottle. You have bacteria in you mouth that will cause a false positive.
  • No soda, spring water, tea or sports drink bottles.
  • Do not collect from the kitchen or bathroom sink UNLESS the faucet has been sterilized with bleach or alcohol. Kitchen and bathroom sinks are a source of bacteria that can cause a false positive.