Well Water testing

How does everyone handle well water testing? FHA & VA requires four different sample tests. Also, the samples have to be turned in the same day to the lab. Usually before noon. So weekends are out for sampling. How would the homeowner handle this with repeat visits from someone taking samples after a home inspection? The costs range about $135. A coliform test is about $50.

Where are you?

Valparaiso, Indiana

Check around with various labs to make sure the lab you talked to isn’t just being difficult. The lab I use here (Maryland) has a 30 hour time limit for bacteria samples, and for the other big ones (lead, nitrates, nitrites, arsenic, radium), it’s more lenient as long as they are kept cold. The lab owner was telling me that a lead sample will stay good for a couple weeks if kept in the refrigerator.
As for pulling the samples, communication and preparation are key. I have a home depot bucket of lab provided sample bottles in my truck, so I can just pull the samples during the inspection. I have the agents notify the seller to not use the kitchen tap after midnight before the inspection so I can get the first draw lead test. I also try not to schedule inspections with water testing on Friday afternoon or Saturday, so I can keep the 30 hour time line. If you can’t get to a different lab, just schedule another time to do the water and charge accordingly for your time. When you notify the agents, tell them there will be return trip fees if you have to come back a second time. I showed up to do a lead test the other day, and the seller was washing dishes. The agents never passed on the do not use instructions. I went back this morning to pull it, and there was a dry sink with a towel over it, and a $100 check waiting for me from the selling agent.


Before posting here, I called two state recommended/licensed labs; they both said the same thing.

I use a local lab only 30 mins away and they provide me with a sample kit and 24hour drop off service. They have a refrigerator in the front entry way to drop off samples any day of the week as they always have someone check in the samples every 24 hours. I know I am lucky to have this soo close as they send the results back by the end of the day Monday if I drop off over the weekend! They have special Home Inspector pricing of only $40 for the FHA/VA/RD Min test which I charge $100 or so for! Call around as I have one only 15 mins away but does not offer the same level of service at higher cost!

Most labs will allow a water sample to be 48 hours old. I never heard of a lab demanding same day.

As if…

If I was Realtor, I would simply forget to tell Vendor and if I was Vendor who were told by Realtor, I would set my clock and get water running before your arrival.

Also, if you do a water test (e.g. coliform) and it fails you have to return to the property and do another test. If that test was done at a property an hour away there goes that small profit and more…

I let Realtor’s do the water test.

I can hear the laughing already if I asked a Realtor to pull the water. That wouldn’t happen around here. As for the lead testing, if I show up and the sink is wet, they’re paying for me to return. So far it’s worked out one way or the other. I’m sure it won’t one day though…


Around here if you do radon, all the windows and doors are taped to prevent openings/tampering as are monitors.

If I were you, I would not trust anyone not to tamper with anything that may affect their pocketbook…

Anyone can wipe dry a sink after use before your arrival or flush a toilet a couple of times!

check out ETR labs in MA. Ive been using them for about 6 yrs. Easy to read reports and fast turn around

Some very good leads everyone!
Thanks !

Each lab is going to have their own protocols for where to sample, how to sample and time / condition for delivery. Follow their rules. My lab is 24 hours and refrigerated / cooled.

For a simple Total Coliform test, my lab charges $28. If someone has them do it, they also charge a $95 trip fee. They have a “use before” date on their test bottles so I only pick them up as needed. I charge $150 for a Total Coliform and it goes up from there for nitrates, nitrites and full spectrum testing. The most expensive test I performed was just under $1500. Full test as they were going to use the well and land for organic farming. Not only did it flunk, the E-Coli could have swum the sample to the lab themselves.

I do a number of tests for FHA/VA. One sample only unless it flunks and then there are the follow up tests. Never heard of 4 different sample tests before.