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. For other types of tests, please refer to the yellow pages under ‘water testing'.
The lab is part of the Environmental Health Division of the Department of Health and Human Services, and is located in the Clallam County Courthouse, Room 130 (Dept. of Community Development).
Water samples must be submitted in specific sterile sample bottles that are available from Environmental Health. You may ask for specific instructions about collecting a water sample when you pick up your empty bottle, instructions are also on the form. You may pick up empty sample bottles at the Environmental Health Division any time during business hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Bottles are also available at Sequim City Hall and the Forks Health Department. However, samples can only be accepted at the times listed below.
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 BACTERIOLOGICAL samples Monday through Wednesday, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Two days before any Holiday, the laboratory stops accepting bacteriological samples at 12:00pm. Please contact Environmental Health at (360) 417-2506 or 417-2258 for operating hours prior to all Holidays. See the Nitrate Testing Schedule links below for sample acceptance date and times.
Bacteriological test fees are:
- $23.00 Coliform Bacteria - presence/absence test
- $35.00 Coliform Bacteria - colony count
- $17.00 Bacteria re-test (within 30 days of bad sample)
- $26.00 Fecal Coliform test
The bacteriological test takes a minimum of 24 hours to complete. 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 $29.00. Nitrate tests are generally only run in the lab two times each month. See schedule below for specific dates and times.
Nitrate can come from natural sources such as decomposing vegetation and geological deposits. It can also enter water supplies through human impact 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 contaminates, such as microorganisms or pesticides may be present.
More Information, please see the Department of Health website: