Water Quality

Telephone (315) 792-0301
Fax (315) 792-5201
One Kennedy Plaza
Utica, NY 13502

USEPA ID#: NY01505
New York State ELAP ID#: 10319
Pennsylvania DEP ID#: 68-03428

American Waterworks Association (AWWA)
Water Research Foundation


Directions for Obtaining and Submitting Drinking Water for Bacteriologic Examination

Please read and follow all steps listed:

  1. Obtain a water sample kit from the Water Quality Laboratory. If the water source sampled contains no chlorine, the sample must be taken in a bottle with no preservative. Chlorinated samples must be sampled in a bottle that contains a dechlorinating agent (white powder in bottle). Be sure to request the appropriate bottle prior to sampling. Caution: DO NOT remove the bottle cap until just before filling.
  2. Remove the strainer from the faucet and open the tap fully. Let the water run to waste for five minutes. (In sampling from a mixing faucet remove the attachments such as the strainer screen, run the hot tap water fully open for two minutes then turn off the hot water tap. Now run the cold water for five minutes fully open.) Reduce the water flow to permit filling the bottle without splashing. DO NOT RINSE THE BOTTLE BEFORE FILLING. DO NOT CONTAMINATE THE INNER SURFACE OF THE SAMPLE BOTTLE.
  3. Water samples will be accepted at the Water Quality Laboratory, located on the third floor of Utica City Hall, Monday through Thursday (8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) The sample must be refrigerated, or kept on ice, from time of sampling until delivery to the Lab (be sure water sample does not freeze). A water sample that is being mailed must be taken on Monday or Tuesday and sent to the laboratory by Priority delivery (overnight service) and still meet ALL acceptance criteria. Sorry, no exceptions.
  4. Testing of raw samples must begin within 8 hours of sampling; for drinking water samples testing must begin within 30 hours of sampling. You must record a residual taken at the time of sampling for chlorinated samples. Raw source samples for quantitative (enumerated) E. coli tests must be chilled to <10°C for sample acceptance by the lab.
  5. Fill out the Bacteriological test form. Make sure to include name, location, and address of the sample, and the telephone number and address where the report is to be sent. If this sample is for New York State Health Department monitoring requirements please include the PWS# number on the form.
  6. This test requires 24-hours testing time to complete. Results will be sent by mail, fax, or email (as requested) when released by the Quality Assurance Officer. Standard turnaround time is 7-10 days.
  7. The cost per sample is $30 for presence/absence; $40 for a quantitative result. We accept cash, check, money order, credit or debit cards. Please make checks payable to MVWA.
  8. At its discretion, MVWA may subcontract your sample out to a contracted lab for any reason, including but not limited to workload volume, equipment failure, and issues related to quality control.
  9. NOTE: NYSDOH is collecting data on private well water quality. There are currently no NYS requirements for private well water. With your permission, MVWA will share your results with DOH. It is confidential and there are no additional requirements for you based on test results.
showing collection bottle fill line just above 
                    the horizontal line on jar

Fill Sample bottle to line shown in picture

Test Explanation for Total Coliform & E. coli

Results are expressed as positive or negative for coliform bacteria in 100 milliliters of a water sample. Total coliform bacteria can occur in the intestines of humans and animals. They also may occur in soil and plant life. Total coliform bacteria can occur in a water sample due to poor sampling procedure. E. coli is bacteria that occurs in the intestines of humans and animals. It is a direct indicator of contamination from waste and sewage. Therefore, coliforms are indicators of outside pollution of a water source. A result of positive in either the Total coliform or E. coli test indicates the water could be contaminated and the sample is not acceptable.

Please note: This test is for bacterial analysis ONLY and not for chemicals or minerals. The bacterial test results are indicative of the water quality of the sample received at the laboratory at the time of sampling ONLY. These tests cannot tell what the water quality was prior to sampling nor can it predict what the future quality of the water will be.

If you need additional information for your water well, or have questions about your water quality, please contact your local health department. Additional information is available from the New York State Department of Health regarding standards for water wells at New York State Department of Health.

Additionally, fact sheets related to water well drilling, operation, testing, and protection can be found on the New York State Department of Health Fact Sheets on Protection of Water Wells, including: