Step 1: Picking the right container
Getting the container right is an important consideration. Some tests require special containers and preservation so as not to interfere with and/or change the testing outcomes.

If you would like to identify physical and chemical contaminants (like pH and metals), you will need at least 500 ml of sample. You can pick up the correct bottles from RWL or, if this is not possible, you can collect a sample in a ‘make-do’ bottle. This bottle will need to be very clean, and one that hasn’t had milk in it previously. Something like a disused soft drink bottle or water bottle is ideal. Be aware that any leftover drink or food residue can contaminate the sample and affect testing outcomes.

If you want to determine bacteria like E.coli you will need to supply at least 110 ml of sample. Strictly speaking these samples should be collected in a sterile container. Again, you can pick up the correct bottle from RWL or if this is not possible, you can use an ‘make-do’ container. An ideal choice is a glass jar (like a jam jar) that can be sterilised in boiling water. Boil the lid as well then let it cool before filling.

There are special bottle and preservation conditions for detecting chemical sprays, fuel products, detergents etc. in water. Please contact the laboratory to find out the correct bottle to use.

Step 2: Collect the water
Have a think about where and how you might collect it to obtain a sample appropriate to your concern and representative of the water. For chemical testing, fill & rinse the clean bottle and lid at least three times with the water sample. Then fill to full and cap. For bacteria testing do not fill the jar to full to allow us to mix it prior to analysis.

Step 3: Submission of the sample
Deliver (or arrange for someone to deliver) the sample to our laboratory on the same day as it is taken. If this is not possible, keep the sample cold in the refrigerator and bring it in the next day. Samples requiring bacteria analysis are not accepted Friday’s. We are located in the Lismore CBD at Level 2, 218-232 Molesworth St, which is diagonally opposite the memorial baths in the Rous County Council building.

The laboratory business hours are Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm and samples must be received before 4:15pm to allow processing.

You can download, print and complete our sample submission form . Payment by eftpos, credit card or cheque is required on the day and results will be emailed within 10 working days. (Please note that there is  no cash option available)