Drinking Water Testing

Monitoring drinking water quality for thousands of chemicals in a single analysis

Clean drinking water is essential for life, but our water quality is threatened by 1,000s of chemical contaminants, from everyday products that can seep into drinking water supplies, to runoff and ground water discharge

Drinking water quality testing is fundamental to protecting our drinking water supplies and ensuring safety. supports these efforts by offering sensitive and accurate LC/MS/MS systems for efficient water quality testing for a vast range of drinking water contaminants – monitored from source to consumer.

Drinking water tests typically require extensive sample preparation to achieve the ultra-low detection limits required by regulations. LC/MS/MS solutions for drinking water quality testing provides labs with:

Simplified workflows for direct injection of water samples for analysis – little sample preparation required

Enhanced sensitivity for reliable detection of trace chemical levels in samples

Flexibility to screen for both targeted and non-targeted contaminants at once

Diversity to analyze for many compound classes, including pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, organic chlorine compounds, industrial chemicals, complexing agents, and even unknown degradants or chemical by-products, in a single injection


Testing drinking water

The Department of Health recommends private well owners test their drinking water every year for coliform bacteria and nitrate.  These two contaminates can rapidly affect a person’s health — possibly even with just one drink of water. In most counties when you sell a home with a private well, the county health or planning department or your lender may require you to provide water sampling results to show that your water is safe to drink. You may also want to test your private well if flooding has occurred in your area.

If you own a private well, you are responsible for testing your own water.  Some counties have water quality testing services available through local health departments and districts. We can help you find an accredited lab to help you test your well water for contaminants.

Find a lab

We regulate well construction. We also accredit laboratories that test water. Sampling your well water is easy — just contact an accredited lab. Labs that accept drinking water samples appear as light blue dots on the map below

Public water systems

The State Department of Health is in charge of drinking water for larger water systems. Most public water systems have water quality data available to the public. You can request a copy of their consumer confidence report.


Water Contamination

Safe drinking water is a critical component of human life, but pollution threatens many of our water supplies. Agriculture is one of the key causes of water pollution. Industrial activities, overflowing sewers and naturally occurring substances can also contaminate our drinking water. Knowing the signs of water contamination will help you take actions that will keep you and your family safe

Everything from agricultural runoff to lead pipes to byproducts of water decontamination can threaten our water’s safety. And the Safe Drinking Water Act that’s supposed to protect our drinking water doesn’t even look for toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS chemicals, even though the contaminants have been linked to cancer and birth defects.

Safe Drinking Water Act

The federal government regulates and protects our public drinking water via the Safe Drinking Water Act. The law, which was first enacted in 1974, covers water that comes from public sources, such as rivers, lakes, springs and groundwater wells. It does not cover private wells that provide water to fewer than 25 people.


The Safe Drinking Water Act grants the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to set national health standards for drinking water and to set the legal limits on more than 90 contaminants.

Types of Contaminants

Numerous types of contaminants can threaten drinking water. They include everything from chemicals to pesticides to animal waste to industrial waste injected into the ground. Naturally occurring substances, such as arsenic, radon and fluoride, can also contaminate groundwater.


Every day, 2 million tons of sewage and other liquid waste pour into the world’s water supply. Contaminated water kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.


Water Testing

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that private wells be tested annually. Without testing, the water quality is unknown and the water could be contaminated with natural-occurring or other contaminants.

Health Impacts of Water Contaminants

There are a variety of bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can potentially cause Well Water Quality if humans ingest them. Testing water for each of these would be difficult and expensive. Instead, water testing for total coliform levels serves as an indicator of contamination.

Coliform bacteria can enter well water through a variety of ways, including sewage overflows, damaged or malfunctioning sewage systems, polluted stormwater runoff, and agricultural runoff. Private wells may become more vulnerable to such contamination after flooding or fires, particularly if the wells are shallow, have been dug or bored, or have been submerged by floodwater for long periods of time.

Shock Chlorination

Bacterial contamination of well water can come from many sources. The most common include repairing the pump or casing without follow-up chlorination, surface water entering pump or casing, poor construction of the well, or leaks in the well or well casing.

Shock chlorination of a well may eliminate the bacterial contamination, but well rehabilitation may be necessary if contamination continues to occur (as in a rusted or leaking casing). If you plan to shock chlorinate your well yourself, follow instructions carefully to ensure bacteria is eliminated.


Water Testing Laboratory

offer testing services and provide information for private customers who have concerns about the quality and safety of their drinking water. can customise analyses to suit your needs and recommend that you contact the laboratory before you undertake sampling to ensure the correct type of samples are taken.

Testing services

Our Laboratory is accredited with International Accreditation for a range of chemical and microbiological tests. We are also able to subcontract specialised tests which we do not perform ourselves. Our staff can collect samples from throughout Whangarei district.

The laboratory is involved in:

testing Whangarei and surrounding district’s drinking water and ensuring the safety of the supply

monitoring the district’s sewage discharges to ensure consent requirements are met

sampling and testing swimming pool water

industrial waste testing

other specialised tests for private customers.

drinking water is recommended to meet the standards set out by the Ministry of Health. We ensure that all households using the town water supply receive drinking water which complies with these standards.

Compliance report

To indicate compliance with Drinking Water Standards 2008, the water will be tested for E coli. A written report detailing NZ Drinking Water Compliance will be issued.