Analysis Request – Water

Testing for various indicator micro-organisms is a critical water quality parameter as a wide range of pathogenic viruses, protozoa and bacteria are transmitted by water. These micro-organisms may be the cause of a several diseases making routine microbiological testing of drinking water, recreational water, industrial effluent water and environmental water essential. To ensure water is safe for consumption or its intended use Vinlab Micro offers a range of indicator organism tests in conjunction with various specific pathogen tests providing clients with the peace of mind that no pathogenic micro-organisms are present in their water source.


As it would be impractical and costly to perform all microbiological testing on water samples indicator organisms have been identified making routine monitoring for the potential presence of pathogens easier. For drinking water these indicator organisms include Total Coliform Bacteria, Escherichia coli, bacteriophages (somatic coliphages) and the protozoan parasites Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Industrial effluent water is not intended for human consumption and is primarily regulated due to release into the environment with the indicator organism used being faecal coliforms. Irrigation water is frequently tested for Escherichia coli due to risks of contamination of fresh produce.


As many viruses, protozoa and bacteria are transmitted by water causing disease, such as cholera, hepatitis, gastroenteritis, giardiasis, typhoid fever, and eye, ear, nose and skin infections, routine microbiological testing is essential for the protection of public health. Early detection of microbial contaminants in water aids in rapid implementation of a water management program that focuses on water resources, water treatment systems, water distribution systems and the quality of water minimizing harm to humans, animals and the environment. This ensures water is safe for use, as well as, safe for release back into the environment.

How often?

Frequency of water testing depends on water sources and the intended use of water.  Effluent water, for instance, is tested monthly while well water, provided no contamination has been detected, is only tested once a year for coliform bacteria. Water intended for public recreational use also varies with swimming pools and spa water requiring monthly testing while hydrotherapy pools require weekly testing. Naturally any water source with known microbiological contamination should undergo more frequent testing until a water treatment program has been successfully implemented.


As with “How often?” many factors influence when water sources should be tested. Private water sources intended for human consumption should be tested after rainy periods, if a recent natural disaster has occurred, if you live near a waste disposal site or farm, if there are changes in your drinking water quality, or if any maintenance has been performed on the water source. Irrigation water, on the other hand is ideally tested at the start of irrigation, mid-season and close to harvest. Naturally, before any industry discharges water into the environment effluent water testing is performed.


The responsibility of delivering water safe for both consumption and for release back into the environment falls on homeowners using private water sources, any industry discharging water into the environment, or any public recreational water source.