Water Bacteriology FAQs


Q: I missed my collection day. What do I do?

  • Please take your sample on the next Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday that does not fall on or around a holiday.
    The sample must be collected within the scheduled month.

Q: Can you test my well?

  • The Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories (KHEL) discontinued coliform testing of private well samples on August 1, 1989. Assuring the safety of private drinking water supplies really requires an assessment of the well location and construction as well as a site assessment for potential contaminants. For example, a poorly constructed well could be free of contaminants one day and then become highly contaminated the next after a heavy rainstorm washes contaminants into the well. Testing a single sample analysis is not a true indicator of the overall safety or purity of the water.
    Click here for a list of private labs to sample well water for Cryptosporidia or Giardia

Q: What about water supply address or personnel changes?

  • Make sure that you keep these up to date at all times. If there are any changes please make sure that the Public Water Supply Section (PWSS) is notified:
    (785) 296-6434 or (785) 296-7111.
    The lab prepares kits for mailing about 6 weeks ahead of the collection date, so it is very important that you update your information as soon as possible. You can also print off a PWS Contact Change Form on the KDHE, Bureau of Water, Public Water Supply Section website:  http://www.kdheks.gov/pws, and return it to:
                                                   
    Ellan Spivey or Christianne Huard
    Kansas Department of Health & Environment
    Division of Environment, Bureau of Water
    1000 SW Jackson St, Suite 420
    Topeka KS 66612-1367

Q: How does the Lab mail out the collection kits?

  • If your water system collects 6 or less routine samples per month they are mailed from the KDHE lab to you via the US Post Office on or around the 15th of the previous month. If you collect 7 or more routine samples per month they are mailed to you via UPS on or around the 20th of the previous month.   Your kits should arrive to you around the 1st of the month. 
    If you do not receive your collection kits by the 10th of the month, call (785) 296-0971 for a replacement.

Q. How do I handle collection kits that are delivered while I still have bottles to collect?

  • Pay close attention to the date of collection on the submission cards. We send the bottles out 10 -15 days early and they can arrive in the month previous to the collection date. If you collect this bottle before the designated collection month, you will have collected too many samples in one month and not enough the next month and you will be out of compliance for the next month.

Q. What can I do if I have sent my sample, but forgot to fill out the collection card?

  • If the date, time, collection location or the collectors name is missing we will call you, one time, using the number we have on file. We will leave a message with the clerk, secretary or answering service for you to call us. You will have until 12:00 (noon) the next day to return the call or we will reject the sample and send you a replacement (Yellow - REPL card) kit and you will have to collect another sample.
    If you realize that you left off information after sending your sample, you can call the lab at (785) 296-0971, and we can update your card when it arrives to the lab.

Q: What if there is a small amount of liquid or white powder in the bottle. Is it safe to use?

  • Yes. The manufacturer adds sodium thiosulfate to each bottle prior to sterilization.  Depending on the environmental conditions, the sodium thiosulfate could be liquid droplets or dry out and leave a powder. The sodium thiosulfate removes the chlorine from the sample and works if it is in liquid or powder form.

Q. What should I do if the lid on the bottle is loose?

  • If the cap is loose the bottle, but the safety seal is still intact, then the bottle should be OK! If the lid has fallen off, or you have a concern about the bottle integrity, then call (785) 296-0971 for a new bottle. 

Q. I had a positive sample and sent in a box of 3 Repeat samples, and now I have another box of 3 samples, what are they for?

  • If you have a Total Coliform or E. coli Positive sample from a routine water sample:
    - The first box of 3 samples were “Repeat” samples - look for the “RP” on the sample submission cards to the right of your account name at the top of the card.
    - The next set of samples are “Temporary Routine” samples - look for the “TR  RTOR” on the sample submission cards to the right of your account name at the top of the card.
    The Temporary Routine samples should be collected the month following a positive sample. You must collect no less than 5 samples the month following a positive sample.  

    The number of “TR  RTOR” samples you receive is based on how many routine samples you collect each month:
    - If you collect two routine samples a month you will receive 3 "TR  RTOR" samples to bring your total collections for the next month to five (5)
    - If you collect three routine samples a month you will receive 2 “TR  RTOR” samples to bring your total collections for the next month to five (5), etc.

    These samples will be mailed to you around the first of the month they are to be collected.  They can be collected throughout the month anywhere on your site plan and collected as you would a routine sample. It is advised to collect them on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday not preceding a holiday. They must all be returned to the lab by the end of the scheduled month. Failure to collect and return five samples in a month following a positive sample will result in a monitoring violation.

Q. I collected my sample but forgot to mail it or I know my sample will be too old.

  • Please call the lab at (785) 296-0971 and we will send a replacement kit if needed.
    Do not send the bottle if you know it will be too old.
    Do not use the collection card for a future sample.  However, we would like to have the submission card for our records, so write “VOID” on the card along with a short note indicating the reason and who you talked to on the phone. To save postage, you can just send the voided card in with your next sample.

Q. Where do I take the replacement for my rejected sample?

  • You may take it at any place on your registered site plan, but it is good practice to recollect it at the original location.