The VAEL Water Bacteriology lab utilizes various microbiological techniques to detect total coliform and E.coli bacteria in water sources including food processing, recreational waters, and wastewater.
VAEL can also now test drinking water samples submitted by the general public for Total Coliform and E. coli testing.
For other drinking water testing, please contact the Public Health Laboratory.
Questions? Call 802.585.6073 or email AGR.VAEL@vermont.gov
Samples may be submitted to the lab by the general public for Total Coliform and E. coli testing. Sterile 120 mL Idexx Colilert vessel required for sample collection which can be obtained through the lab. Call 802.585.6073 or email AGR.VAEL@vermont.gov to arrange pickup of containers.
- Private Drinking Water Sample Submission Form (PDF)
- If your well/spring has recently been chlorinated, the odor of chlorine should be absent for at least 2 days before sampling
- Take the sample from any cold-water faucet. Remove strainer or filters if present. Clean inside of faucet with a cotton swab soaked in bleach. Run water at full force for 5 minutes before taking sample.
- The sterile sample bottle contains sodium thiosulfate powder. Do not rinse the bottle or dump out the powder. Do not touch the inside of the bottle or cap.
- Reduce flow of water and fill the bottle to the 100 mL mark. Sample bottles with less than 100 mL will not be accepted.
- Replace cap and seal tightly to prevent leakage.
- Label sample container and chain of custody with the location, date and time of sampling.
- Store sample in the refrigerator or cooler with enough ice to maintain a temperature of ≤8° C.
- Submit sample and completed chain of custody form to VAEL within 24 hours of sampling.
- Samples accepted Monday-Thursday 8AM - 4PM, but not the day before a VT state holiday (State Holiday Schedule).
- A result report will be emailed to the address specified on the chain of custody form within 5 business days of sample receipt. Please print clearly!
- 2-day RUSH: A result report will be emailed to the address specified on the chain of custody form within 2 business days of sample receipt. Please print clearly!
- Public Drinking Water Supply Sample Submission Form (PDF)
Dairy Processing Water
Samples may be submitted to the lab from the following entities: VAAFM field staff, dairy processors, and farmstead dairy operators
- Sterile 120mL vessel or 300 ml Whirlpak pags containing a minimum of 120ml of sample
- Sample taken using aseptic protocol
- Sample submission form to accompany samples
- Sample kept cold during transit 0 – 4.5⁰C
- Sample received within 30 hours of collection
Sampling & Submission Guidelines:
Note: Prior notification is highly recommended. CONTACT US
Test requested and state holiday schedule determine laboratory delivery days STATE HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
- Sample water into sterile 120 mL Idexx Colilert vessel or 300 mL sterile WhirlPak bag
- Label sample containers using a permanent marker (Date of Sampling, Sampler, Sample Description)
- Collect samples that are representative of the water source being tested
- If applicable, disinfect and flush sample ports
- Remove and discard plastic seal
- Keep sampling container closed until it is filled, do not contaminate inner surface of cap or sampling container, replace cap immediately
- Using aseptic technique, fill container without rinsing to just above fill line (leave ample air space for mixing)
- Place samples in leak-proof cooler - containing ice & water slurry
- Transport samples with appropriate Submission form (below) to the lab as soon as possible
- Best methods of transport are hand delivery, same-day or overnight courier
- In order for sample results to be used for official analysis, transit time must not exceed 30 hours and sample temperature must be <10C (preferably 0 - 4.5C) at time of receipt
- New England Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP)
Environmental Water Bacteriology
Samples originate from the Agency of Natural Resources, many through the Watershed Monitoring Volunteer program.
Note: Prior notification is highly recommended. Test requested and state holiday schedule determine laboratory delivery days STATE HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
- Sterile 120mL vessel
- Duplicate when required
- Sample taken using aseptic protocol
- Field collection form to accompany sample
- Proper sample identification
- Sample kept cool during transit
Sampling Instructions: Bacteriological Sampling Instructions (Environmental) PDF