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Animal Control Center (417) 332-0172

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Water Quality Testing

Should I have my well tested?

Yes. In 1999-2000 contaminated private well water caused 26% of the drinking water outbreaks that made people sick. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules only protect public drinking water systems, not privately owned wells. Most states have rules for private wells, but these rules may not completely protect your private well. In other words, as a private well owner, it is up to you to make sure your well water is safe to drink. Your local health department’s environmental section can help advise you.


Why test for coliform and E. coli?

Coliform and E. coli bacteria are microbes found in the digestive systems of warm-blooded animals, in soil, on plants, and in surface water. These microbes typically do not make you sick; however, because microbes that do cause disease are hard to test for in the water, “total coliforms” and E. coli are tested for instead. If the total coliform count is high, or if E. coli is present in the water; it is a strong indicator of a recent sewage or animal waste contamination of your drinking water. It may contain many types of disease causing organisms.

Here is what the EPA has to say about coliforms and E.coli.

Method for collecting drinking water samples for bacteriological analysis

This method is for collecting potable (drinking) water samples. Only samples collected in bottles prepared by Taney County Health Department and collected in accordance with these instructions will be accepted for analysis.


The samples should be taken from a smooth-nosed cold-water tap if possible. Avoid collecting samples from leaking taps that allow water to flow over the outside of the tap or from frost-proof hydrants or hot-cold mixing faucets, since it is not practical to sterilize these fixtures.


1. Remove aeration devices and screens from faucets before sampling. Open the tap fully and let the water run to waste for 2 or 3 minutes or until the service line has been thoroughly flushed.


2. Flame sterilize the tap from its nose to the valve, being certain that the open end has been well heated; -OR- Chemically disinfect the tap by thoroughly rinsing both the outside and inside of the tap with 100ppm solution of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCL).

[A 100 ppm sodium hypochlorite solution can be made by mixing ¼ ounce (1.5 teaspoons) of unscented, household bleach with one gallon of clean water.]

If the tap cleanliness is questionable, provisions should be made to allow the solution to remain in contact with the tap for up to 15 minutes or to increase the strength of the solution to ensure adequate disinfection. Chemical disinfection should be used for plastic faucets or other sampling sites at which flame sterilization is not practical.


3. Flush the tap for an additional 2 or 3 minutes; reduce to a gentle flow to permit filling the bottle without splashing.


4. KEEP BOTTLE CLOSED UNTIL IT IS TO BE FILLED and DO NOT RINSE THE SAMPLING BOTTLE. The bottles contain a chlorine neutralizer that is present in a liquid or crystalline form. They are sterile and ready for use when picked up. A loose cap does not affect sterility.


5. Grasp the cap along the top edge and remove. Do not touch the inside of the cap or the bottle, and do not attempt to clean or rinse the bottle.


6. Hold the bottle so that the water entering it will not come into contact with your hands. Allow water to flow smoothly from the tap and fill the bottle, leaving ½ inch air space at the top (or fill to the line present on the bottle). SAMPLE WILL NOT BE TESTED IF THERE IS LESS THAN ½ INCH AIR SPACE IN THE BOTTLE.

  7. Replace cap on bottle and tighten securely.

Transportation Instructions

Bring in samples immediately after collection. This is important because samples should be in transit no more than 24 hours for best analytical results. Samples received more than 36 hours after collection will not be tested.

Samples are accepted Monday through Thursday prior to 3:00 p.m. with results reported the following business day after 3:00 p.m.

Information Form

Fill out a separate form for each water sample submitted. Supply all information requested on the form and submit with sample. Here is a copy of this form. Samples submitted with incomplete collection information will not be tested. There is a $10.00 fee payable upon submission of the sample.

If you have any questions about these instructions, feel free to contact your Taney County Health Department Certified Drinking Water Laboratory at (417) 334 – 4544, ext. #247.

Copyright © 2008-2011 Taney County Health Department. TCHD is an equal opportunity employer.  Site Map
Forsyth Office:      15479 State Highway 160, Forsyth, MO 65653   Phone: 417-546-4725 or 1-888-707-4725        Fax: 417-546-4727
Branson Office:               320 Rinehart Road, Branson, MO 65616    Phone: 417-334-4544 or 1-888-294-9530        Fax: 417-335-5727

Animal Care & Control Center: 255 Critter Trail, Hollister, MO 65672    Phone: 417-332-0172 Fax: 417-332-2672  Fax: 417-332-2672