FAQs

What types of tests does the laboratory perform?
The Water Quality Laboratory performs bacteriological water and sediment testing using approved methods, such as Membrane Filtration, Multiple-tube Fermentation, Colilert/Enterolert® and Heterotrophic Plate count.
Does the laboratory perform virus testing?
No, WQL does not perform virus testing at this time.
Does the laboratory perform water chemistry testing?
Yes, the Public Health Laboratory in Santa Ana performs water chemistry testing.
What are indicator bacteria and what is their significance?
Microbial water quality is based on the presence and concentration of indicator bacteria in water. Indicator bacteria are found in human fecal material, which can pose a major threat to our water quality. Indicator organisms such as total coliforms, fecal coliforms, Enterococcus and E. coli, may not necessarily cause disease, but are used to indicate the presence of disease causing organisms, for which testing is either difficult or unavailable.
What is the typical turnaround time to obtain testing results?
Generally, laboratory results can be obtained within 24 hours.
What is the optimum temperature for storage and transport of water samples en route to laboratory?
The optimum temperature for transport of water samples is between 2°C-10°C.
Does the laboratory provide cooler thermometers?
Yes. Cooler thermometers that are calibrated annually to meet NIST standards are provided to sample collectors.
What types of water samples are considered unacceptable for testing?
  • Samples that are brought in later than 6 hours from collection
  • Samples with broken containers
  • Samples not transported under appropriate temperature
  • Inappropriate sample identification
In what format can results be obtained?
Results can be faxed, mailed, or e-mailed to submitters, depending on their needs.
What is the latest time for sample delivery?
Samples should not arrive at the laboratory after 2 PM to allow sufficient time for processing. Exceptions may be made on an as-needed basis.
What is the latest status on ocean and bay closures or postings in Orange County?
Please refer to OC Beach Info.
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