Water Quality Laboratory (WQL)

The Water Quality Department located at Shellmaker Island in Newport Beach is part of the Orange County Health Care Agency Public Health Laboratory. State certified public health microbiologists conduct drinking and recreational water testing using rapid, advanced methods.

One function of the WQL is to perform recreational bacterial water quality analysis for the Environmental Health Department of the Health Care Agency. Up to 150 shoreline sites in Orange County representing 25 beaches are tested weekly. The WQL assists other agencies with research/monitoring projects requiring accurate microbiological testing. The laboratory also performs drinking water testing as required.

Career Opportunities

The County of Orange Public Health Laboratory employs Public Health (PH) Microbiologists and Laboratory Assistants.

Qualifications for PH Microbiologist include completing a 6-month training program, approved by the State of California, and passing the State of California examination. PH microbiologists are state certified and trained to identify all types of infectious agents.

Laboratory Assistants assist licensed personnel in testing and conduct tests not requiring a license.

Certifications

Continued certification from the State of California Department of Health Services (CA-ELAP)

Certification number: 2545

Mission Statement

  • Ensure safe recreational and drinking waters by testing samples provided by the Health Care Agency Environmental Health Department in support of State Public Health regulations.
  • Provide microbiological expertise and testing services to other Orange County public and private organizations involved in projects to improve water quality.
  • Conduct research to evaluate improved methods to detect microbial pollution and determine sources of pollution.
  • Provide water quality microbiology educational opportunities.