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Water Testing



Major Cations

Chelex® Metals


Micro Organisms






Water Testing

It is vitally important that water is sampled and preserved correctly in order to ensure analysis results accurately reflect the in situ parameters (analytes and physical water properties) that you are trying to measure and base decisions on.


Envirolab Services is NATA Accredited for the testing and analysis of waters, which include, but are not limited to potable, process, groundwaters, surface waters and wastewaters.


Sampling and Process for Water Testing

For water testing, sampling and preservation information is fully outlined in AS/NZS 5667 as well as other sources, such as the American Public Health Association (APHA) ‘Standard Methods for the examination of water and wastewater.’ Generally, samples are best kept refrigerated and should be received at the laboratory within 24 hours of sampling. 


More specific information relating to sampling can be viewed on our specially prepared fact sheet on the recommended preservation and holding times for waters.


Sampling that meets your Unique Testing Requirements and Project Needs

Based on your needs and requirements for scientific testing services, our expert team at Envirolab can advise which analysis may best suite your situation. Our team will provide you with appropriate sample bottles and preservatives (if applicable) for you to collect and then deliver the water sample in. These bottles, along with a completed Chain of Custody form, should be delivered to your nearest Envirolab office or laboratory as soon as possible.


Envirolab Services provides water testing results for:

  • Borehole, wells and rainwater tanks

  • Bottled water

  • Chelex Bioavailable metals

  • Cooling water

  • Drinking water

  • Effluent

  • Estuarine and Marine or 'sea' water

  • Freshwater

  • Groundwater

  • Irrigation water

  • Landfill leachate

  • Legionella

  • Saline water

  • Stormwater, drain and sewage water

  • Surface water

  • Swimming pool and spas

  • Waste water


Ask our specialised team of scientists about how we can assist you with water testing.


Organic contamination of water may originate from a variety of sources, for example fuel storage tanks, industrial processes and greenhouse emissions. 


Envirolab can provide reliable results for clients who are subject to process control as well as national and local regulatory compliancy. Some areas of organic analysis include:

  • VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) - include compounds from fuel sources and chlorinated volatile hydrocarbons from historical use of degreasers.


  • SVOC (Semivolatile Organic Compounds) - encompasses a wide variety of compounds

    • Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

    • Phenols

    • Herbicides/Fungicides

    • Pesticides

    • Polybrominated Diethyl Ethers (PBDEs)

    • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

    • Dioxins and Furans

    • Explosives

    • Organometallics (e.g. TBT and Methyl Mercury)


  • TRH / BTEX testing suite (Total Recoverable Hydrocarbons / Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene) - useful test for determining the nature of a fuel / oil source.


Anions are commonly present in significant quantities in the majority types of waters.


While some anions are part of regulatory programs for improving the taste and removing odour in water, others are classed as carcinogenic and therefore need to be regulated. Anions (and cations) are also an indicator of water quality, such as soft water, compared to hard water, and the potential for concrete cancer in building infrastructure.


Testing for anions in water at Envirolab

Envirolab has many years of experience in providing our clients with quality scientific testing of anions including:

  • Alkalinity - as an indicator of the presence of Bicarbonates, Carbonates and Hydroxides

  • Bromide

  • Chloride

  • Fluoride

  • Nitrate

  • Nitrite

  • Oxyhalides (disinfection biproducts)

  • Phosphate

  • Sulphate


Ask us today on how our expert team at Envirolab can assist you with your water testing requirements.

Major Cations

While naturally occurring in rocks and soils, higher concentrations of certain Cations in water may be present due to other factors, such as industrialisation. These higher concentrations of Cations may cause water to be more corrosive.


Within industry, the concentration of Cations in water affect pipelines, irrigation and farming equipment. For example, hard water with the build-up of Calcium and Magnesium salts. Similarly, washing, cooking and hot water systems may be affected at the consumer level.


Testing for cations in water at Envirolab

Common major cations that our team at Envirolab can assist you with include:

  • Sodium

  • Potassium

  • Calcium

  • Magnesium



Chelex® Metals

When monitoring water quality for ecosystem protection, where water quality is affected by the presence of trace metals, the bioavailability of such metals (not just the concentration of elements in the dissolved phase), can be critical in the assessment of potential toxicity. 


Bioavailability1 has been defined as metals that can be taken up by and potentially cross cellular membranes. The metals retained by the selective Chelex resin in this method are deemed representative of the bioavailable metals. The method has been chosen to provide further information than a simple filtered or unfiltered analysis of the fractions of water samples using a rapid column separation.


Scientific Testing at Envirolab

NATA Accredited testing at Envirolab is performed to determine Chelex® - Bioavailable Metal Speciation in natural waters for:

  • Aluminum (Al)

  • Copper (Cu)

  • Mercury (Hg)

  • Barium (Ba)

  • Cobalt (Co)

  • Molybdenum (Mo)

  • Beryllium (Be)

  • Iron (Fe)

  • Nickel (Ni)

  • Cadmium (Cd)

  • Lead (Pb)

  • Tin (Sn)

  • Chromium (Cr)

  • Manganese (Mn)

  • Vanadium (V)

  • Zinc (Zn)


Please note, the sample should be either 0.45µm or 0.1µm field filtered into an unpreserved metals (HDPE) bottle.

Download Envirolab Services Flyer on the Chelex Method

  1. Speciation and Bioavailability of trace Metals in Water: Progress Since 1982 G Batley et al, Aust. J Chem 2004, 57, 903-919. 


As emerging environment contaminants, PFAS have been identified in water and include a class of perfluorinated compounds, Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).


The once extensive use of PFAS in industrial applications and their use in Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFF) for firefighting products has resulted in extensive contamination. The high mobility of PFAS has caused detection in water bodies at significant distances from areas of use.


PFAS pose a concern because they do not 'break down' or decompose easily and may be present in water samples from municipal water, drinking water wells, surface water (lakes, rivers and dams) and groundwater. PFAS may also be found in soil, sediment and air either due to release from a manufacturer or by the use and disposal of products that contain these contaminants.



PFAS Testing at Envirolab

Envirolab Services is specialised in testing for PFAS.


Analysis is conducted by combining liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry (LC-MSMS). The LC-MSMS technology provides a fast and accurate method for detecting PFAS in a variety of sample matrices including water, soil, blood/serum and biota. Future testing in air is now feasible with international regulatory bodies developing suitable sampling and analysis techniques.


Apart from Envirolab’s state of the art facilities, our many years of expertise in scientific PFAS testing will assist you in your testing requirements. Additionally, Envirolab has been an early adopter to the Total Oxidisable Precursor Assay (TOPA), which may assist in determining the presence of precursor PFAS compounds i.e. PFAS that can chemically and/or biotransform into the persistent PFAS. For example, PFOS, PFHxS and PFOA. 


Contact us today for further information about testing for PFAS in water and how we can assist you with your environmental testing requirements.

Download Envirolab Services Flyer on PFAS Testing

Micro Organisms

Bacteria, pathogenic or 'disease causing' organisms and other microorganisms are a health concern when considering the safety and quality of drinking water.


Human and animal wastes are a source for the spread of pathogens in water areas including rivers, lakes, runoffs and contaminated swimming pools. Discharge from septic tanks, sewage treatment facilities and the natural environment are other sources for water contamination.


Envirolab has specialist expertise in assessing water for:

  • E.coli

  • Legionella

  • Salmonella

  • Thermotolerant coliforms

  • Total plate counts


Of note, Envirolab’s Perth facility, MPL Laboratories was the first commercial laboratory in Australia to be NATA Accredited for Amoebae detection, in 2014, using PCR (includes the speciation of Naegleria).


While vital for plant growth and stability, higher concentrations of nutrients in water sources may affect ecosystems; algae and other aquatic plants will continue to grow well beyond the amount needed to support the biological community. Consequential changes to acidity and oxygen levels may in turn be toxic to fish and other marine life.


Higher levels of nutrients in water are not only detrimental to an ecosystem, but also affect human health and agriculture. At the same time, residue from fertiliser used to grow crops may contaminate a downstream drinking water bore with excessive levels of nitrates and phosphates.


Testing for nutrients in water at Envirolab

NATA Accredited, Envirolab offers nutrient testing of water samples. Laboratory testing includes:


Forms of Nitrogen

  • Ammonia

  • Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN)

  • Nitrate

  • Nitrite

  • Organic Nitrogen

  • Total Nitrogen


Forms of Phosphorus

  • Ortho-Phosphate

  • Total Phosphorus


Contact our team at Envirolab and ask us how our specialised water testing services can be catered to your needs.


Inorganic properties of water may be indicative of its quality in the natural environment as well as included in specifications for industrial and household usage.


Physico-chemical testing at Envirolab

A number of inorganic tests can be carried out at one of our laboratories to measure water quality. Our full range of testing services for inorganic contamination include the following parameters:

  • Acidity and alkalinity

  • BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand)

  • Chlorine (Free and Total Residual) – although field testing recommended

  • Chlorophyll A

  • COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand)

  • Colour

  • Conductivity / Resistivity

  • Cyanides

  • Hardness

  • pH

  • Salinity

  • SAR (Sodium Adsorption Ratio)

  • TOC / DOC (Total Organic Carbon / Dissolved Organic Carbon)

  • Total Solids (TS), Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

  • Turbidity


​​​​​​Other tests are also available by our NATA Accredited Envirolab laboratories, as required for water quality analysis. With support from our specialised team at Envirolab, you can be certain of quality results and a rapid turnaround that can be customised to your scientific testing requirements.


Our NATA Accredited laboratory is supported by very experienced Envirolab staff who can provide you with reliable results and a rapid turnaround in identifying the presence of heavy metals, such as:

  • Arsenic

  • Cadmium

  • Chromium

  • Copper

  • Mercury

  • Lead

  • Nickel

  • Zinc


We have an extended suite of up to 30 trace metals. Additionally, an extensive range of rare earth elements (REE) can be analysed for in water samples.


Envirolab also provides specialised metal analysis for:

  • Organo-tins

  • Speciated Arsenic

  • Methylmercury


The detection of various pharmaceuticals in wastewater is important for monitoring waste streams that may reach the surrounding maintaining the environment. Some of these pharmaceuticals are potent. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) may have an adverse effect on certain organisms.


Envirolab tests for the following pharmaceuticals in waters:

  • Fluoxetine (prozac)

  • Trenbolone


Other pharmaceuticals, steroids and hormones are available for testing. Ask us now what we can do for you and your specific requirements.

Why Envirolab Services?


We strive to proactively communicate and drive quality improvements within the business as well as across the industry. This ensures consistency in the delivery of quality work, whilst also enabling adaptability to change for continuous learning.


Our service is the backbone to our success. This is because we view our internal customers as being part of the same team, working together towards common goals and results. In doing so, we aim to exceed customer expectations through great service and the delivery of quality and timely results.


We pride ourselves on being consistently depended upon to deliver commitments. Our staff proactively go above and beyond to ensure our different clients’ expectations are met.

You can view or download our broad range of capabilities for environmental testing to see why we are the first choice for our clients.

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