Water Screen Procedure

About the Procedure


Currently, water screening for nitrate and bacteria is a service provided by the Dickinson County Department of Environmental Services at 2363 Jeep Road. Contact the County Environmental Sanitarian to schedule a visit to evaluate the well and take a water sample, or obtain sample containers from the Environmental Services office to take your own sample.

There is a small fee to help cover the cost of the screening, contact the Environmental Services Department for details or download our water test form. Checks are to be made payable to the Dickinson County Department of Environmental Services.

Directions for Taking Your Own Water Sample


To assure reasonable accuracy, samples must be transported to the Department of Environmental Services as soon as possible after collection. Samples will be accepted Monday through Thursday. The fee and paperwork must accompany the samples.

It is suggested that you use the kitchen faucet or the faucet you use most. If there is an aerator on the faucet, remove it. Swab the inside of the faucet with a cotton ball or paper towel soaked in at least 70% rubbing alcohol. Let the faucet run for about 10 minutes, or long enough to allow water to clear the line from the well to the faucet.

With a permanent marker, record your name and the date, time, source, and address on the Whirl-Pak and on the plastic bottle label or lid.

Open the Whirl-Pak by zipping off the perforated top and gently pulling the paper tabs apart. Fill (about 1/3) without touching the Whirl-Pak to the faucet. Close by folding over several times and twisting the yellow twisty ties together. This sample can be used for nitrate and chlorine screening.

Remove the seal on the plastic bottle and remove the lid. Take care to not spill the small amount of dry chemical in the bottle. Fill to the line on the shoulder and replace the lid tightly. This bottle is for bacteria screening. It can detect presence of coliform and E coli bacteria after 24 hours in the incubator.

If a sample tests high for nitrate or positive for bacteria, you will receive a phone call. A written report should be available in less than two weeks.