Water samples must be taken in sterile, clean bottles provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services, Laboratory Services Section. Bottles can be acquired from Laboratory Specimen Receiving by calling the phone number 512-776-7598 and placing an order for containers to be mailed to your address, or you can come in person to the Specimen Receiving area of the DSHS Laboratory in Austin Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You can access a map of the DSHS facilities. The Submission form G-19 must be obtained along with the test container.
A good location for taking water samples is an outside faucet that does not leak (avoid rubber hoses, fire hydrants, dirty areas, and areas behind bushes). Do not take samples from kitchen or bathroom sinks. Avoid sampling on extremely windy days or when it is raining.
Open the faucet to full flow for three minutes to clean the line. Then, reduce the flow to a slow, steady, spray-less stream. Exercise care when opening the bottle; do not touch the inside of the container or the cap. Do not rinse the bottle. Fill the container slowly to collect approximately 105 mL of water to the neck of the bottle without splashing, then recap it. Proper volume is required for testing. For step by step instruction click here
Samples with the completed submission forms can be mailed or hand delivered to the DSHS Laboratory Specimen Receiving area, Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. Refrigeration of water samples during transportation is highly recommended. If mailing is preferred, the sample should be addressed to:
Laboratory Services Section, MC 1947
Texas Department of State Health Services
PO Box 149347
Austin, TX 78714-9347
All samples must arrive at the testing laboratory within 30 hours from the time the sample was collected.
Once the sample is received by the testing laboratory, it takes 18 to 22 hours to complete using the current methodology. All results will be entered into a laboratory reporting system after the tests have been finished. A copy of the results will be mailed, faxed, or picked up at the laboratory depending on the option that is chosen on the G-19 form. For inquiries about water reports, please call the Laboratory Reporting Branch at (512) 776-7578.
A "NO COLIFORM FOUND (by MMO-MUG test)" report indicates coliform organisms are absent, and means the water is considered bacteriologically safe to drink at the time of sampling.
"TOTAL COLIFORM FOUND (by MMO-MUG test)" and/or "ESHERICHIA COLI FOUND (by MMO-MUG test)" on your report indicates that the water may be unsafe to drink because coliform organisms are present.
If repeated testing reveals possible coliform contamination, well disinfection is recommended. Call Water Utility, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) at (512) 239-6020 for details.
No. You must contact your city-county health department first; they will work with the DSHS Infectious Disease Control Unit and the DSHS Laboratory on possible specimen submission. Locate the contact information for your local city-county health department.
We test anything that is associated with an outbreak.
No. You need to contact your local city-county health department and they will determine whether or not to conduct an investigation. At that time, they will determine if testing is necessary.
There is a risk associated with eating raw food of any type. Individuals with medical conditions may be at a high risk for becoming seriously ill from eating raw oysters contaminated with a naturally-occurring bacteria and/or algal toxins.
No. You must contact your local city-county health department. They will then conduct an investigation. If they feel the product is implicated, they will work with the DSHS Infectious Disease Control Unit and send the specimen to the DSHS Laboratory for testing. Locate the contact information for your local city-county health department.
There is a risk associated with consuming raw milk products of any type. Individuals with medical conditions may be at a high risk for becoming seriously ill from eating raw dairy products contaminated with a naturally-occurring bacteria. View more information.
There is a small allowable amount of "good bacteria" (ones that do not make us sick) in any pasteurized milk product. After the use by date, the numbers of these bacteria will have grown significantly, creating the characteristic odor of bad milk.