In office/home Water Quality Testing

I have been using a local government lab for water testing with decent results, for many years.
My tests include bacteria (Colifirm and Ecoli) and Nitrates. Along with hardness, iron, chlorides, etc.

However, the times to submit samples can be a problem when working outside of their business hours.

Does anyone use a pre-purchase test done in office/at home?

My initial thought is I wouldn’t trust a self test but am interested if anyone has used these with any success?

I look at it as too much liability to do it yourself. You would also have to disclose that you used some sort of at home testing kit instead of a state certified or a gov’t lab. Are you even allowed to perform the testing yourself in your state for a fee and or as part of your services?

I agree on the potential liability Simon.

As far as the legal side to test on one’s own, not sure.
There’s no license required here in Michigan for home inspectors but water quality testing may be different.

In my county, you can take a water sample to the county health department and they will test it at no charge. When the question comes up about water testing, I suggest that they go this route first,

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It would not have proper chain of command good enough for a VA loan.
Just saying!

It definitely wouldn’t fly for VA.

Have you looked into using EMSL, Pro-Lab, SimpleLab or some of the other companies that cater to home inspectors?

Yes, I have.
Then its a time thing again with getting the sample to a shipping drop point so it arrives inside the proper time frame.
The local county lab I use now require a sample (for bacteria testing) to be in their hands within 24 hours of obtaining it.

Has the testing you’ve been doing been acceptable for HUD use for special loan types (VA, FHA, etc), or do you advertise as an “informational” test only?

Yes. The county lab water testing I offer has been acceptable for HUD use.
The lead portion I send to the State of Michigan lab or a separate lab an hour away.

I have considered indicating, which one would have to, that the water test results are informational only, if using in home/office test procedure.

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I think it is nice to be able to advertise that it qualifies for “official use”. I’ve been half-heartedly trying to add water testing for several months now. But trying to find out state and HUD requirements for who, what, and where is a nightmare. And calling anyone at the state usually ends up with more questions than answers, lol. I just worry that if a client hires me to perform a water test, but then finds out HUD won’t accept it because it wasn’t collected or tested or whatever following their rules, it could be a nightmare.

The “informational test” is one way to prevent this, but I feel it also limits the potential market a bit as well.

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I have offered water quality testing for many years and dealt almost exclusively with our county lab.
The three important ones are bacteria (ecoli/coliform) and nitrates. Then of course lead for VA.

Check with your county/municipal lab to see what they offer.

My best revenue generating ancillary services are well/water quality and septic inspections.
I’m very specific verbally upfront and in the PIA about what I’ll be doing and what is included.

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If you are interested in the verbiage or the way I approach when a potential client calls, let me know.
Happy to send my PIA for well/septic inspections.

Unfortunately the nearest “state accredited lab” is an hour away from me. We have been in talks but their prices are high. They want me to drive the samples to them but say overnight shipping would be ok if packaged correctly. But overnight shipping adds even more to the cost, making it tough to come up with a reasonable rate that I can make money on.

EMSL labs has a very nice and affordable kit that includes priority shipping, but they are quick to point out that the test is “informational only.” I guess that’s why it’s been on my to-do list so long, lol.


A solution might be to ask your client right up front what kind of loan they have.
If they simply want the water tested for informational purposes (Not VA/RD), so be it.

Then have a few of the in home/office test kits as well as some from EMSL labs so you’re covered both ways.

I charge more on anything that has to be sent out as shipping costs have crept up steadily.

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Yep, EMSL just raised their test kits by $15 or so, possibly due to shipping costs. The only reason I know that is I have a spreadsheet started with 5 or so different testing labs to try and determine who I want to use. Your thread spurred me to revisit this again and when I went to the EMSL website, their costs were higher than when I first created the spreadsheet a few months ago.