If you suspect your drinking water is contaminated, the water should be tested. If your water is provided by a public system, contact the operator of the system for testing and possible disinfection. If you have an individual well, we suggest that you test your water for bacteria annually. If your water sample is unsatisfactory, you should then evaluate and disinfect the well.
The Clallam County Drinking Water Laboratory offers bacteriological and nitrate water testing. The lab is part of Environmental Health Services under the Department of Health and Human Services and is located in the Clallam County Courthouse, Room 130 (Department of Community Development across the hall from the Commissioners Office).
Water samples must be submitted in specific sterile sample bottles that are available from Environmental Health Services. You may ask for specific instructions about collecting a water sample when you pick up your empty bottle, instructions are also on the form or from the Department of Health Coliform Sampling Procedure Brochure (PDF). You may pick up empty sample bottles at the Environmental Health Services Counter any time during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm. Bottles are also available at Sequim City Hall and the Forks Health Department. However, samples can only be accepted Monday through Thursday from 8am-3:30pm. No samples are accepted on Fridays.
Forks Water Sample Testing Drop-Off Schedule for Courier Service from the Forks Health Department @140 W. C St. every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month unless holidays apply
Lab Closures - No samples will be accepted or tested on days found on the Courthouse Holiday Schedule or the weekday before any holidays.
The test done by the Clallam County Drinking Water Lab measures the presence of coliform bacteria. These bacteria are commonly found in human and animal waste, decaying vegetation, as well as in the soil. Although coliform bacteria are not usually a cause of illness, their presence indicates a potential contamination problem. A sample which tests positive for E. Coli or fecal coliform bacteria is most likely to indicate recent fecal contamination and requires immediate attention and follow-up sampling.
The water lab accepts samples Monday through Thursday, from 8 am to 3:30 pm. Two days before any Holiday, the laboratory stops accepting samples at 3:30 pm. Please contact Environmental Health at 360-417-2258 for operating hours prior to all Holidays or see the schedule above.
Bacteriological test fees are:
- $23 Coliform Bacteria - presence/absence test
- $35 Coliform Bacteria - colony count
- $18 Bacteria re-test (within 30 days of bad sample)
- $30 Raw Fecal Coliform test
- $40 Enterococci Bacteria
The bacteriological test takes a minimum of 24 hours to complete and must be collected less than 18 to 24hrs before the test is run. You will typically receive your results in the mail within a few days. If your water contains coliform bacteria, Environmental Health staff will contact you by phone immediately with the result and suggestions for disinfecting your well.
The Clallam County Water Lab tests for the amount of nitrate in drinking water. The Nitrate test is recommended for individual wells every three years and costs $30. For individual and Group B water systems payment is due upon submittal of sample.
Nitrate Samples Now Accepted at the County Courthouse Monday Thru Thursday 8:00am-3:30pm
(excluding holidays & the weekday before any holidays)
NITRATE SAMPLING INSTRUCTIONS
Nitrate samples must be less than 48 hours old when received at the lab.
Samples that do not meet the 48-hour time limit will not be tested.
Take the sample the same day you plan to submit it.
- The samples should be taken as close to the source as possible.
- If there is a spigot in the well house, use that rather than a tap in a residence.
- To collect the sample, remove any attachment from the water tap, such as hoses, filters, screens, or aerators.
- Flush the pipes by running the cold water for about 5 minutes.
- Fill the sample bottle to the shoulder of the bottle.
- Keep the sample cold.
- Bring the sample to the lab within 24 hours.
Nitrate samples must remain cold, 39°F (4°C) or below. They must be kept cold but not frozen after you take them and while you transport them. Use a cooler or baggie with ice to maintain proper temperature.
Nitrate can come from natural sources such as decomposing vegetation and geological deposits. It can also enter water supplies through human impacts such as failing on-site septic systems or nitrogen fertilizer use. High nitrate levels can cause methemoglobinemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder affecting the oxygen levels in the blood. Methemoglobinemia can affect people of any age, but infants in particular. High nitrate levels may also suggest that other contaminants, such as microorganisms or pesticides may be present.
For more Information about Nitrates, please see the Department of Health website: