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Drinking Water Systems

Florida Department of Health in Columbia County Environmental Health

Program Description 

The Florida Department of Health in Columbia County has a State-certified microbiological water testing laboratory where our trained staff analyzes water samples for bacterial contamination, such as coliform bacteria and the presence of E. coli, a harmful germ sometimes found in contaminated well water supplies.

Water testing is often required to secure bank financing for new homes, and is required for most of the permitted facilities inspected by the Florida Department of Health in Columbia County. Many of these facilities, such as mobile home parks, child care and group care facilities, and foster homes are required to submit water samples for testing on a quarterly basis.

Private citizens wishing to have their well water tested for bacterial contamination will be provided with a sample bottle and instructions for taking the sample. The fee for a water sample is $20.00. For contaminated wells, follow-up or "repeat" samples cost $20.00. If clients wish for a member of the Environmental Health staff to take the sample for them, the fee for the sample collection and analysis is $70.00.

Guidelines for Submitting Water Samples for Bacteriological Testing 

  1. Your water sample must be taken and brought in for testing on the same day.
  2. Water samples are accepted by the Environmental Health office ONLY on these days and times: Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Friday, samples not accepted. These times are strictly enforced and samples WILL NOT be accepted after these hours.
  3. Bacteriological water analysis is $20.00 per sample and must be paid for when the sample bottle is picked up from our office.
  4. Remove the aerator screen from the faucet the sample will be taken from, and clean the threads of the faucet or hose bibb with bleach or rubbing alcohol. Run the water for several minutes, then proceed to step 5.
  5. When taking samples in bottles, remove the plastic seal completely, uncap the bottle (do not touch the rim of the bottle or the inside of the cap) and fill to the 100ml line. Our laboratory will not accept samples less than 100 ml.
  6. Do not overfill or rinse out the sample bottles -- this will cause the preservative inside the bottles to spill out, and validity of the sample cannot be guaranteed.
  7. Submit the sample on ice to the lab.